With international football scheduled for next weekend, the Scottish Premiership went out with a bang…
After watching the national team cruise to a 2-0 win over Albania in the Nations League last week, it was back to business as usual as league football returned this weekend for fans across Scotland. We’re five games into the Premiership season now and the league table – and our manager power rankings – are beginning to take shape.
Oran Kearney held Celtic to a goalless draw in Paisley as the new St Mirren manager made his debut in Scottish football, Hearts maintained their 100% record with a win over Motherwell at Fir Park while in Edinburgh, Hibs threw away a two-goal lead before Florian Kamberi sealed the win for Neil Lennon’s side with a late penalty against Kilmarnock.
We’ve updated our Premiership manager power rankings after the weekend’s action and there’s been lots of movement in our rankings as a result. Below, you can take a look at our Premiership power rankings five games in to the new season.
This season we’re tracking each coach’s progress across all competitions, as well as the Premiership, to give a more telling representation of a manager’s performance over the course of the season. Our updated rankings across all competitions can be seen below.
Alan Stubbs became the second Premiership manager to lose his job earlier in the month when the St Mirren board lost faith in his abilities after a slow start to the league season. Oran Kearney replaced the ex-Hibs boss and faced the daunting prospect of a home fixture against Celtic for his first match as St Mirren manager, but the Buddies played out a credible 0-0 draw on Friday night. Olivier Ntcham was sent off during the first half for the visitors and Celtic struggled to find a way through with ten men.
Kearney gained a point in our rankings for the stalemate and will be delighted that his team were able to shut out the champions successfully. It’s an encouraging start for the Northern Irishman and although it’s early days yet he has a positive score; something that Neil Lennon, Steve Clarke and Stephen Robinson can’t say. A trip to Hamilton awaits in St Mirren’s next match – a win could lift the 40-year-old into fourth place overall if results go Kearney’s way.
Brendan Rodgers, on the other hand, was docked a point for failing to win the game and has fallen level with Lennon and Clarke on a total of 0. This tells us that Rodgers is performing adequately so far, although the former Liverpool boss will be keen to ensure that the five-point gap between the Hoops and Hearts doesn’t grow any bigger.
St Johnstone hosted Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon looking to extend a decent run of form and took the lead early in the first half through David McMillan’s header from a corner. Saints failed to consolidate the scoreline in a dominant first half performance and were undone in the second half by Niall McGinn’s sublime free kick. The game finished 1-1 and the two teams left McDiarmid Park with a point apiece.
It’s been a strong start to the season for Tommy Wright’s men, who have now lost just one of their opening five Premiership fixtures. Saints’ impressive early season form has resulted in Wright shooting up our power rankings and the 55-year-old has held on to his spot in second overall. A win at Ibrox next weekend could be enough for Wright to top our rankings, but a defeat would almost certainly result in the Northern Irishman sliding down the table.
It’s been a slow start to the campaign for Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen, who have now won just one of their opening five league fixtures. The Dons boss still has a positive score of +1 overall, indicating that he’s operating slightly better than he could reasonably be expected to, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Next weekend, Aberdeen host Motherwell – a poor result could see McInnes drop as low as tenth or eleventh if other results go against him.
Craig Levein missed Hearts’ last Premiership match after being hospitalised following a heart scare but watched the Jambos’ away game to Motherwell on Saturday from the stands. After scoring for the national team on Monday night, Steven Naismith is showing no signs of relenting and again scored the winning goal at Fir Park during the first half. Hearts held on to their narrow lead and left Motherwell with all three points.
Levein has been the Premiership’s outstanding manager so far this season and gained another point for the win over Motherwell, leaving the ex-Scotland boss on +12 overall. Four points separate Levein in first and Wright in second and the Hearts manager will be able to consolidate his position at the summit of our rankings with a win over Livingston in Hearts’ next league encounter.
Stephen Robinson lost a point for the defeat as his side were expected to lose the game, with the Northern Irishman dropping to a score of 0 overall – level with his compatriots Rodgers and Lennon in the lower half of our table. This score means that Robinson is performing about as well as he could reasonably be expected to so far this season, although there is still work to be done if Motherwell are to seriously challenge for a top-six finish.
Kilmarnock travelled to Easter Road on Saturday looking to replicate their previous away performance in the Premiership, a 2-0 win over Aberdeen before the international break. Stevie Mallan scored his seventh goal of the season with an early free kick before David Gray doubled Hibs’ advantage around 20 minutes in to the game. Eamonn Brophy pulled one back for Killie before Greg Stewart grabbed an equaliser on the cusp of half time, only for Florian Kamberi to seal the win for the Hibees from the penalty spot with about ten minutes left to play.
The win for Lennon’s side was overdue and the 47-year-old now has a score of 0 altogether. The former Celtic boss will be hoping that the win can galvanise his team and put an end to their recent run of poor form; before Saturday, Hibs had won just one of their previous six games in all competitions and Lennon was hemorrhaging points in our manager power rankings.
Steve Clarke will be disappointed to have left Easter Road empty-handed after Kilmarnock looked to have rediscovered last season’s form in their win over Aberdeen in the previous round of games. Like Lennon, Clarke now has 0 points overall in our rankings – not a particularly poor score, but still some way short of last season’s eye-catching form. Killie will host Celtic next weekend – a win over the champions would see Clarke shoot up the table.
Dundee travelled to Ibrox on Saturday afternoon still looking for their first point of the season but left with nothing after being battered 4-0 by Steven Gerrard’s team. Lassana Coulibaly, Ryan Kent, James Tavernier and Glenn Middleton all got on the scoresheet in a routine win for the Gers, with Kenny Miller being sent off for Dundee on his first return to Ibrox since acrimoniously leaving the club in May.
Just as Dundee are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership, so too is their coach in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of our rankings. Dundee’s uninspiring start to the season has cost Neil McCann eight points so far: five fewer than Martin Canning in eleventh. A positive result at Ibrox always seemed a big ask for Dundee, who face Hibs at Dens Park in their next game. Again, this looks a tricky fixture but the Dark Blues simply must get some points on the board sooner rather than later.
Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, bounced back from Rangers’ Old Firm defeat a fortnight ago in emphatic fashion and will be delighted with his team’s performance. The 38-year-old has retained his spot in third and will have a chance to leapfrog Tommy Wright and move into second place when the two managers face each other in their next Premiership fixture this Sunday.
Many eyebrows were raised when Livingston dismissed Kenny Miller just two games into the season but the Livi board look entirely justified now after the impressive start Miller’s successor has made. Stevie Lawless’ spectacular early strike against Hamilton was enough to overcome Accies and it’s now three wins on the bounce for Gary Holt’s Livingston.
Holt has shot up our power rankings as a result and is in third place overall, despite having only taken charge of three games so far. Quite simply, it’s been the perfect start for the new manager and Livi fans will be delighted with the impact he’s had. A difficult trip to Tynecastle awaits in Livingstone’s next match but don’t be surprised if Holt upsets the odds once again.
For Accies, meanwhile, it’s been a difficult start to the campaign and their poor start has cost Canning dearly in our rankings. The Hamilton boss is in eleventh place with -3, but could catch up with the likes of Clarke and Rodgers with a win over St Mirren in their next match. It’s been an uninspiring start to the season from Accies and Canning – if they don’t get their act together, Accies could be in real trouble this season.