The sacking season for managers is now over. Scottish bosses can breathe a temporary sigh of relief.
At this late stage in the campaign changing jockey with the final fences in sight is no guarantee of finishing the race in any better a position than it was with the man who saddled up at the season’s start.
Managers with teams going through a sticky patch are always at the mercy of trigger happy chairmen seeking favour with fans who have little idea what managing a football club entails, but who are nevertheless all experts in the art.
However, in these final weeks of the season a degree of security unfolds simply because it’s probably too late to change anything.
Locally, the picture is a varied one, but the various managers are all in fairly secure positions.
At Dens Park, the Dundee FC owners are to be congratulated on a steady as she goes approach. Paul Hartley is in a strong position as the Dark Blues continue to progress in finding the kind of stability which has eluded the club for over 30 years.
Hartley is only in the foothills of his managerial career, and there have been signs that he may well climb to greater heights once he has another few years’ experience under his belt.
Currently his team struggle for consistency, but outside of Celtic and Aberdeen that is a theme prevalent throughout the Scottish game. Consistency of performances and results are the Holy Grail for football managers the world over. Those who find it regularly are destined to become football deities.
At St Johnstone, Tommy Wright is in possession of the magic elixir.
He is a football alchemist who turns base metal into gold. Without a superstar in his side he consistently manages to mould 11 disparate players into a solid and reliable unit. That in turn feeds through the club ensuring stability from boardroom to dressing room. The Northern Irishman is in my view absolutely immovable from his position.
At Tannadice, Ray McKinnon is finding that the demands of hometown fans are unforgiving, and United’s slippage to fourth place in the Championship shows that the rebuilding job at Tannadice is as hard as he knew it would be when he signed on.
His task is made tougher with off-field issues between some fans’ groups and the chairman, but Stephen Thompson has appointed a promising manager and it makes absolute sense to give him the time and backing to restore the fortunes of the club. That will be not be an overnight job and already looks like it could entail another season out of the top league.
In Fife, Dunfermline after a tough league start, are on a terrific run. Under Allan Johnston’s stewardship they’ve lost only once in their last 10 games and are building for a genuine promotion campaign next season.
At Stark’s Park a bright league opener has turned distinctly dark. Temporary boss John ‘Yogi’ Hughes has blasted his players as Raith Rovers join the unholy trinity of the bottom three, but he’ll see the season out and may yet take the reins permanently.