There’s a vaccine on the way. We might get to see football live again. We might get a normal life again.
Before all that though, here’s your monthly dose of the Pure Fitbaw Power Rankings. Take your medicine.
We’re releasing our managerial Power Rankings as a way of quickly assessing how each manager in charge of our Premiership clubs has done so far. This is a method that might be more established within that other football (NFL) but is a way to try to rank teams based on more than just points gained.
This article is a subjective view, and we want to know what your rankings would be from 1-12 after you read this post! Here’s our ranking for November.
Steven Gerrard | Rangers
13 goals scored in three domestic matches. Another three clean sheet bonuses that had to be handed out too. The Rangers result machine keeps going. Steven Gerrard “won’t look at the league table”, according to him after the 1-0 victory against Kilmarnock, but at this rate, he won’t need to. Demolitions of Hamilton and Aberdeen were sandwiched with impressive performances against Benfica. I’m really running out of superlatives for their performances this season and it’s hard to see how or where Rangers will drop points.
December has a busy schedule with nine matches, six of those are away, across three competitions. If Rangers can maintain their unbeaten run then that will be another incredible effort.
Callum Davidson | St Johnstone
I’ve been very impressed with Davidson and St Johnstone, they seem to be going from strength to strength. This is a rise from 6th last month to 2nd this month in the Power Rankings. The underlying numbers in their performances earlier in the season suggested that when things started to click, we would see them climb the table. Five matches unbeaten domestically and some good cup performances are showing that Davidson is proving his worth and has been a smart appointment. The draw away at Easter Road showed that the team is evolving and for large parts of it they were the better team. I do still have some concerns about chance creation if Conway and/or McNamara are out, but while they’re in, St Johnstone are a team to watch.
Micky Mellon | Dundee United
I’ve been pretty critical of Dundee United so far. Last month, Mellon was 8th and I said “I still can’t work out if Micky Mellon is a good manager or not.” They play a type of football that I’m not 100% certain is allowing their players to express themselves, but what it has done is bring a solid structure that makes them hard to beat. They’re sitting in the top half of the table in his first season in charge in the club’s first season back in the top flight. Maybe my criticism was too harsh and creating a steady foundation to build on is an okay strategy.
I think, like many others, I just want to see more from this Dundee United team. I want some of their talent to be unlocked and unleashed. A word of warning though. If they do persist with this system, Lawrence Shankland’s value quickly drops. It might be worth considering a January sale.
Neil Lennon | Celtic
If I was rating Neil Lennon on his performance in all competitions then he would be fortunate to find himself in the top half of our Power Rankings, but the league is our main driver for the rankings. After the 4-1 win against Motherwell Neil Lennon said, “we have managed the mini-crisis well.” Unfortunately this is now more than a mini-crisis and is almost a sporting version of a humanitarian crisis. This is no longer just about the results, it’s the manner that Celtic are dropping points now that’s the issue. The draw with Hibs and relying on a very late goal to salvage a point in a lacklustre performance is nothing short of embarrassing for Celtic. It’s hard to sum up this mess in less than 250 words.
Derek McInnes | Aberdeen
Another month, another Covid crisis. You can’t blame the players this time though with the midfield spine of McCrorie, Ferguson and McLennan missing after having to isolate after Scotland under-21 duty. This saw McInnes playing what felt like 37 full backs against Rangers in the 4-0 defeat. On the flip side, a convincing 2-0 victory against Hibs at home was vital in the push for European places this season. I think when Aberdeen have a fully fit squad they should be able to kick on. The performances of Scott Wright and Ryan Hedges behind the striker have been particularly impressive. With a favourable December schedule, we could see McInnes and the Dons create a bit of daylight between them and the chasing pack.
Jack Ross | Hibernian
“Hibs have been a bit of a rollercoaster watch early in the season with some Jekyll and Hyde performances.” Repeat that again for November. Back-to-back 2-2 draws against Celtic and St Johnstone were perfect examples of the inconsistency. They can be very exciting in an attacking sense, and the return of Jamie Murphy is something that’s really pleasing to see. On the flip side, the defence is exposed too easily in wider areas at times. The question I often ask myself after watching Hibs is “are they good, or do they just have better players than the rest?” Are individuals like Nisbet, Boyle and Porteous are the ones that are keeping Hibs going? Time will tell.
Jim Goodwin | St Mirren
All does not seem well behind the scenes in Paisley with the recent financial statements and the Covid impacts. Goodwin had his early season critics, including me, but we’ve seen that trusting the process can bring some results. Jake Doyle-Hayes’ winner against Livingston was a much needed reprieve. I’ve got faith in this young squad that they’ve got the ability to turn this difficult start around. The performance of Erwin, Erhahon, McCarthy and Alnwick are helping the turn around. If they can find a creative midfielder in January, I think that will be enough for the Buddies to have another season in the top flight.
Alex Dyer | Kilmarnock
Alex Dyer has done a good job steadying the ship and fighting for the top six. Making Rugby Park a difficult place to go and performances like the 3-1 victory against Ross County is exactly the sort of result that will keep Killie safe from the battle at the bottom. The strange match in the fog at McDiarmid Park, which resulted in a narrow loss, is nothing to be concerned about in my opinion. I do wonder if the board will actually release some of the Greg Taylor funds to help Dyer continue to improve the squad.
A special mention to Aaron Tshibola who’s the vital cog in this team. He helps transition play and offer a creative threat in the final third, and he’s maybe a name that’s a little under the radar.
Stephen Robinson | Motherwell
With only two matches in November, it’s hard to judge where every manager is in terms of performance, but after a strong October, inconsistency has crept back in at Fir Park. Losing 4-1 against a battered and bruised Celtic team in a game that felt like they had a chance to take something from might feel like a game the Steelmen want back. The frontline of Watt, Long and Lang all feels a bit of too much of the same for me. I’d like to see if Motherwell can find a way to get Jake Hastie firing again, it would give them a different threat.
A word of warning. Scoring goals is great but Mark O’Hara still has a lot of deficiencies on the ball and a few calls of him knocking on the door of the Scotland squad are very premature.
Stuart Kettlewell | Ross County
A non-mover. The Betfred Cup heroics against Celtic don’t count in these rankings, unfortunately.
When Kirk Broadfoot is able to dribble the ball out of defence, play a one-two and get a shot away on the edge of your area, there is something wrong. That issue has been the same one all season so far. Defensive structure. The gaps between the lines have been there all season. Ross County really need to invest in a bit of steel. They have a number of good players that could help them push towards the top six but until that’s addressed, they’ll continue to be at risk of a relegation fight. Stephen Kelly is a bright spot, and letting the young Rangers loanee off the leash looks to be a really smart move. It could be the catalyst to spring the Staggies forward.
Brian Rice | Hamilton
There’s been some encouraging signs for Hamilton. The first 60 minutes against Dundee United away had some nice patterns of play and good pressing, but still resulted in defeat. They picked up a point against Aberdeen and there’s a few players I’m keeping a close eye on to see how they perform over the rest of the season. The January window can’t come quick enough and I think they need to look for some creative relief, believe it or not it’s not the defenders that are causing the issues for Brian Rice. If, and it’s a big if, Hamilton are going to get out of this relegation battle their December fixtures are huge for them in their fight to pick up points.
Gary Holt | Livingston
We have our first casualty of the season. Livingston had their issues but I don’t think the time was right for Holt to move on. The loss of Lyndon Dykes has really hurt them and the replacements have been pretty poor. I don’t really know what to say about Holt. When I think about the setup at the club, I can’t think of anywhere else where the assistant manager has more say than the manager. It feels like a bit of a stitch up to me. Finally, and not to sound like I have an issue with David Martindale getting the job, but for so long we’ve been told about how Martindale was the brains of Livi’s success but it seems like when they’ve had their struggles he’s absolved of any responsibility. It’s strange, but has a feel of Levein when he took Cathro’s job.