Manager power rankings: week 9

Manager power rankings: week 9

By James Cairney

Another weekend, another intriguing round of fixtures in the Scottish Premiership.


Kilmarnock leapfrogged Celtic in the league table thanks to Stuart Findlay’s stoppage time winner, Neil Lennon’s Hibs piled on the misery for Neil McCann’s struggling Dundee while Rangers’ 5-1 dismantling of St Johnstone saw them move into second place overall.


As always, the weekend’s results mean we’ve updated our manager power rankings – both in the Premiership and across all competitions. For the uninitiated, you can learn about how it all works here. Six games into the league season, our Premiership power rankings look like this.



The table above gives us an idea about how well each coach is performing in the league, but for a broader picture of each manager’s season we’ve also been tracking each coach’s achievements across all competitions. Our power rankings for the entire season can be viewed below.



Levein finally slips up


Hearts hosted Livingston at Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon with the Jambos looking to make it six wins on the bounce in the league. It wasn’t to be, however: the match finished as a goalless draw, with the best chance of the game being spurned when Steven Naismith’s first half penalty was saved.


The draw means that for only the second time this season, Craig Levein has been docked points in our rankings. The first occasion was the result of a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player in the group stages of the League Cup so Saturday’s draw is the first real blemish on Hearts’ season so far. Levein still leads our overall manager power rankings with +11, but the former Scotland boss is now tied at the top of our league rankings.


And the man that’s caught up with Levein is none other than the one who brought Hearts’ winning streak to an end. Livingston gained a credible point for the draw, as did their manager Gary Holt. In the four games since the 45-year-old took charge, Livi remain unbeaten with Holt picking up eight points in our power rankings, tied with Levein at the summit of our Premiership table. Holt still has some work to do to catch up with him across all competitions, but it’s been a near-perfect start so far.


Gerrard gains ground on Wright


In Sunday’s late kick off, Rangers faced St Johnstone knowing that a win would be enough to leapfrog Celtic in the Premiership table. The Gers won emphatically, with five different players getting on the scoresheet in a 5-1 win. Blair Alston grabbed a consolation goal for Saints, but the visitors’ struggled to get into the match and were ultimately steamrollered.



Steven Gerrard’s team were the bookies’ favourite before kick-off so the ex-Liverpool midfielder gained a point in our rankings. Gerrard also picked up a point midweek for his team’s unexpected draw away to Villareal, leaving the 38-year-old with a total of +6. Gerrard still has some work to do to catch up with Levein, but has narrowed the gap between himself and Tommy Wright to a single point. If results go his way, then Gerrard could be in second place this time next week.


Tommy Wright lost a point for the defeat but is still doing well overall with a score of +7. This is only the second time this season that Wright has been penalised in our rankings – the Northern Irishman will be hoping that Sunday’s performance was merely a blip in what’s been an otherwise impressive start to the campaign.


McInnes gets back to winning ways


Motherwell travelled to Pittodrie on Saturday afternoon hoping to arrest their own inconsistent form while extending Aberdeen’s winless run. Carl McHugh and Chris Cadden went close for the visitors but James Wilson scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win for the Dons, giving Derek McInnes his first home league win of the season.


The result means that McInnes doesn’t drop onto a negative score and has kept the 47-year-old ahead of Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers, if only narrowly. The Aberdeen boss still has plenty to do to move into the top six highest-performing managers, but his score of +2 suggests he’s slightly surpassing expectations at present.


It’s another story for Stephen Robinson, though. The 43-year-old ‘Well boss has slipped into the negative scores again with a tally of -1, having been docked a point for Saturday’s defeat. The Northern Irishman is currently in ninth place in our rankings across all competitions but with Brendan Rodgers and Martin Canning breathing down his neck, Robinson could find himself in eleventh if Motherwell slip up again this weekend.



Clarke stuns Rodgers


Celtic made the short trip to Kilmarnock hoping to follow up on their 1-0 win over Rosenborg in the Europa League midweek and took the lead in the first half after Leigh Griffiths broke the deadlock. Steve Clarke’s team rallied, however, with Chris Burke scoring from distance before Stuart Findlay scored the winner right at the death. The win meant that Kilmarnock moved above Celtic in the Premiership table and consigned the champions to their worst start to a league season in 20 years.


Celtic were the pre-match favourites so Clarke was rewarded with three points for the win in our rankings, overtaking the likes of Lennon, McInnes and Rodgers by doing so. The Killie boss can build on his score of +3 if his team can secure a positive result against Motherwell in their next fixture.


Rodgers, meanwhile, lost three points for the defeat and finds himself on -2 overall, with only McCann below him. For the first time since the 45-year-old took charge, Celtic look vulnerable and their poor start to the season could prove costly in the long run. The Hoops face a tricky trip to McDiarmid Park midweek for their League Cup quarter final before hosting Aberdeen next weekend – back-to-back wins would do Rodgers the world of good and could bring him out of the negative scores.


Lennon gets back on track


Dundee hosted Hibernian on Saturday still searching for their first league points of the season but were comprehensively defeated once again. Florian Kamberi, Martin Boyle and Thomas Agyepong all netted in the second half to seal the three points for the Hibees as they looked to be back at their best.


Lennon gained a point for the win as Hibs were expected to leave Dens Park with all three points, giving the Northern Irishman a score of +1 overall. After a patchy run of form Lennon seems to have resolved the issue and the Hibees are now in third place in the Premiership, trailing Rangers on goal difference. A League Cup quarter final at home to Aberdeen awaits Hibs on Tuesday – should the Edinburgh club lose, Lennon will fall into a negative score for the second time this season.



As for McCann, it was sadly the same old story for Dundee. Their dreadful start to the season is showing no signs of abating and Saturday’s defeat was more of the same from the Dark Blues. McCann lost another point for the defeat, leaving the 44-year-old rooted to the bottom of our rankings with -9. For at least the next week or two, McCann will be staying there.


Canning picks up important win


Hamilton headed into their clash against St Mirren on Saturday having lost their last three matches and in desperate need of a morale-boosting win. Accies went in at halftime two up thanks to Fredrik Brustad’s strike and Mickel Miller’s penalty, before Miller added a third in the second half to seal the win for the home side.


Canning was rewarded with a point in our rankings as Accies were the pre-match favourites, leaving the 36-year-old on a score of -2 overall. Only McCann has a lower score than Canning but the Hamilton boss will be hoping that Saturday’s win will spark his team into life. A win over Dundee in their next match could help build momentum and result in Canning shooting up the rankings.


Oran Kearney, on the other hand, lost a point for the defeat and is now back to being on 0 overall. It’s still early days in Kearney’s tenure but the Buddies boss will be hoping that last week’s draw with Celtic is a sign of better things to come, rather than a one-off. St Mirren face Hibs, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock in their next three games – a difficult run, but one which provides Kearney with plenty of opportunities to jump up our rankings.

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