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Manager Report Cards March 2016

13 Mar

When you examine the season so far only really one thing stands out.  The performance of Managers.  With only a few stand out players and a couple of memorable games what you are left with is how well the Coaching staff have done. So in view of  this I have complied a Top Twenty Managers.

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1 Mark Warburton (Rangers)
2 Derek McInnes (Aberdeen)
3 Jim McIntyre (Ross County)
4 Alan Archibald (Partick Thistle)
5 Mark McGee (Motherwell)
6 Tommy Wright (St Johnstone)
7 Robbie Neilson (Heart Of Midlothian)
8 Alan Stubbs (Hibernian)
9 John Hughes (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)
10 Paul Hartley (Dundee)
11 Peter Houston (Falkirk)
12 Mixu Paatelainen (Dundee Utd)
13 Grant Murray (Raith Rovers)
14 Jim Duffy (Morton)
15 Martin Canning (Hamilton Accies)
16 Alex Rae (St Mirren)
17 James Fowler (Queen Of The South)
18 Jim McInally (Peterhead)
19 Allan Johnstone (Dunfermline Athletic)
20 Ronny Deila (Celtic)

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Firstly Mark Warburton at Rangers a year ago Warburton was a little heard of Manager who was doing a OK Job at an unfashionable Low League Engish Club.  Rangers a year ago were engaged in Boardroom troubles finiancial debts court cases and had a squad that had embaressed the Club into dreading games.  Three Managers in one Season testing the loyalty of even the most hardened Rangers Supporter.  Fast Forward a year and although the job isn’t done officially Rangers are going up and in more ways than one. Mark Warburton supported by Dave King and Co has began to rebuild the Glasgow Giant.  The Future of Rangers is not mortgaged  on faint promises to supporters and loans to morally bankrupt Banks.  This future is built on solid foundations from youth set up to first team, scouting to Senior players Rangers have solved 80% of the problems off the field.  With a induction of some physical strength Rangers will gain promotion and secure a place back in the Premiership.  Scottish Cup Semi Finals and Petrofac
Final Place.  From three squares behind Go Mark Warburton has secured the Top Manager Award.  While others talk about Triple Silverware the former Stockbroker quietly concentrated on Rangers and put them in with a shout of breaking out the Brasso at Ibrox.

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Derek McInnes at Aberdeen would of been number one for me clearly if it hadn’t been for a disaterious October in the League and two meek exits from Cup Competitions.  Make no bones about it what a recorvery to pressure Celtic at the top of the Premiership but the lost look of October 2015 should haunt ALL at Aberdeen.  With a hot and cold Celtic the Dons should be seven or eight points in front.  Aberdeen’s main problem seems to be they can’t “Win Ugly” as often as you have to do to win the league. The oil price crisis in Aberdeen takes away the smiles from the Granite City The Dandy Dons have at least stopped the City become a Leonard Cohen Greatest Hits Collection.

Jim McIntyre at Ross County.  Jim moved north to a club dominated by previous manager Derek Adams persona.  Clever signings and a refreshed training put the laughs back in Dingwall.  Safe in Premiership and Winning the League Cup after knocking Celtic out in the Semi Final all from a club with very limited resources and Fan Base.  Simply put a great Job from Jim at Victoria Park.  In the league there is no formality of three easy points when you play The Staggies.

Partick Thistle’s Alan Archibald no stars, no standout shining skillful players and Maryhill is all the better for it.  This is a Team the most unified well drilled Team in Scotland.  They might lose as many as they win but you have to work hard against Thistle to get anything from them at home or away.  That work ethic does not come easy it comes from the Training Grounds at Garscube or Lesser Hampden and it comes from Manager and Staff.  Partick are not the Joke Club of yester year.
Scotland Assistant Manager Motherwell Main Man Mark McGee has lambasted a squad left to him by previous Managers that although had good players didnt look like they had a template to play too.  McGee’s steady hand on the tiller and  man management motivation that McGee’s former Boss Sir Alex would be proud of has galvanised the Steel Men into respectability.

Tommy Wright in Perth played in Europe had reasonable Cup Runs and are secure in the league.  Not spectacular but workmanlike meeting targets and doing the nessasary.  A selling Club has to find the next shop window and Saint Johnstone under Tommy Wright will continue to be a great shop window for a player to come into the light of so called bigger clubs.
Hearts a good finish in league but poor cup performances lead me to place Robbie Neilson in seventh.  With Craig Levine in back room its dificult to know if Neilson is running the team or if there is a committee.  Cup exit to Rivals Hibs lowers Neilson’s standing.
Alan Stubbs at Hibernian guilty of Over Promising and under delivering.  His season startered with a heavy defeat at Home and Stubbs taking a central role in the Scott Allan transfer it
certainly appeared that the Hibee Manager took his eye off the ball.  When finally he looks to of got it right in League and Cups his Leith Side begin a coupon busting run of dropped league points.  Then lose out to basic errors in League Cup Final. For a Team that has in two attempts NEVER won a Playoff Tie to be cosigned to playing Playoffs again for a third year is a worrying turn of events. As a Stubbs team’s bottle appears to of crashed into Leith Docks. The Easter Road club could easily need to play six  additional games to go up.  With one of these ties against Falkirk it will be as difficult for Alan Stubbs squad not to be victims of hibbing* it up again. Just as its over a century since Edinburgh Hibernian won the Scottish Cup its easy to forget that Hibs have never won a Play Off Tie.  Relegated in Play Off Final  by Hamilton in 2014, Humiliated in Play Off Semi final by the worse Rangers side in a generation in 2015.  With the possibility of Falkirk and Kilmarnock in Playoffs its a uphill struggle in Easter Road.    Cup Runs aside the ONLY thing that matters is Promotion. A third year in Championship would be a financial disaster for Hibernian in order for Stubbs to claim any success he has to take Hibs up.

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John Hughes and Paul Hartley have similar report cards nice cup runs and just enough in the league to survive. Pass Marks but no A plus.

Peter Houston at Falkirk for simply keeping his Bairns believing and joining in the fray at top of the championship.  Last July this League looked like a two horse Race with Falkirk at best a distant third but Houston had no problem throwing in some great performances form his team along with some classic lines to the press.

Mixu Paatalinenn may not save the Arabs but he has made it mighty interesting.  Until his arrival the Tangerine Dream was a Nightmare without his return to Tannadice Dundee United would of been Mathematically relegated with nine games left not in with a shout of pulling off a Houdini style escape.

Raith Rovers Grant Murray needs a mention winners of the Petrofac Challenge Cup last year have hung in and in a battle for fourth in Championship Raith will be in the hunt come last day of season.

Greenock was meant to be the wipping boys of the Championship.  Jim Duffy didnt agree and only the enthusasm of gentle Jim has kept Morton in League with a shout at a play off place.

Martin Canning at Hamilton looks like he could do with a holiday.  He deserves one but his mission to keep Accies up looks secure so the so its job done.

Paisley Buddies must be happy with Alex Rae from having terrible home form to being unbeaten in Paisley in 2016.  One to watch next year.

Queen Of the South must of wanted to kick on from last year they failed hence for that reason James Fowlers in seventeth.

Jim McInally in eighteenth.  Doing amazingly well in league and Final against Rangers the Blue Toon is glowing with pride.  Realistic ambitions but delivery every time.

Allan Johnstone at Dunfermine working hard to get this Fife giant back into the respectable positions they deserve to be in.

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Ronny Deila.  Over promised under delivered, piloting Celtic to new record low Home attendancies. In a league that should be cut and dried making it look hard.  Losing Semi Finals at Hampden. If it wasn’t for the shining light of Leigh Griffiths then Delia would of been sacked at Christmas.  Dysfunctional and devoid of any real creative plan.  The best squad in Scotland should not look as if they could be mugged at every turn.

Mentions

It’s too early to judge Lee Clark at Kilmarnock but safe to say if he gets his Ayrshire team into tenth place by end of season it will be looked on as a as important as the Cup Victories in the the recent past.

I also would like to mention Alloa Athletic’s Ross Jack. His inspired narrowing of the Pitch Dimensions at the Innodrill was genius. Alloa may already be doomed to relegation but they are a lot of teams in the Championship and beyond who are pleased not to make the trip to play the Wasps at Home.

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