Scottish Premiership report card: How does your club rate?

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Scottish Premiership report card: How does your club rate?

With another dramatic Scottish Premiership season finished, Sky Sports assesses who earned top marks, who could have done more and who were the star men?

Aberdeen 4/10

Bojan Miovski celebrates after putting Aberdeen 3-0 up at Hibernian

Image: Bojan Miovski impressed during a tough season for Aberdeen

It’s difficult to know where to start when reviewing Aberdeen’s season.

On one hand this is a team which beat Eintracht Frankfurt in among some very credible Europa Conference League performances, narrowly lost the League Cup final and were a penalty kick away from reaching the Scottish Cup final.

On the other hand, Barry Robson paid for some dismal league results with his job less than a year after being appointed on a permanent basis, and the surprising and brief tenure of Neil Warnock left Dons fans searching for more answers as the veteran interim boss failed to register a league win before walking away after 34 days.

The search for Robson’s permanent successor eventually led the board to Elfsborg boss Jimmy Thelin, who will arrive in June. Before then Peter Leven had done an impressive job to steer the club away from a potential relegation play-off spot and to a comfortable finish, albeit in the bottom six.

Aberdeen’s only defeat since March 13 came on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Thelin will be charged with providing more days out at Hampden next season.

Neil Warnock is yet to win a league game as Aberdeen boss

Image: Neil Warnock failed to win a league game as Aberdeen boss

What do they need next season? Aberdeen fans will be hoping that Thelin can hit the ground running and, at the very least fight it out with the likes of Hearts for third spot and a place back in Europe. The supporters crave silverware and either the League Cup or Scottish Cup remains their best bet.

They would be better placed to do that if they could hold on to star striker Bojan Miovski, whose 16 league goals have been invaluable this season, but he will be a man in demand over the summer.

Star man: Bojan Miovski

Celtic 8.5/10

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Celtic were delivered a late Christmas present from Santa as they lifted the Scottish Premiership trophy

Celtic peaked at the right time as they secured a third Scottish Premiership title in a row following a tight title race with Rangers.

It was not as straightforward as it perhaps appeared the season before, with defeats home and away to Hearts and Kilmarnock as well as dropped points at home to St Johnstone, Motherwell and Killie again making for some surprising results in Brendan Rodgers’ first season back at the club.

Since that defeat at Tynecastle on March 3, however, Celtic have barely looked back. They were ready to take advantage of Rangers’ slip-ups and were relentless in doing so. Taking 10 points from their Old Firm rivals made it almost impossible for Philippe Clement’s side to come out on top and a 2-1 win over Rangers at Parkhead on May 11 all but sealed the title.

A surprising 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock in the early stages of the League Cup in August ensured there will be no treble for Celtic this season but they have the chance to add further silverware to the cabinet on Saturday when they meet Rangers in the Scottish Cup final.

Rodgers has promised to make Celtic even better next season and additions might be needed if they are to improve on this term’s results in the Champions League, with a crushing 6-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid the low point of a European campaign which saw them finish bottom of their group.

Matt O'Riley opened the scoring for Celtic against Rangers

Image: Matt O’Riley impressed for Celtic this season

What do they need next season? Rodgers has hinted that he was not entirely happy with Celtic’s summer business last year and has promised to mould the squad more in his image this time around, spending some of that guaranteed Champions League cash in the process. A new goalkeeper will be top of the shopping list, with Joe Hart set to retire and they may have to find a replacement for star man Matt O’Riley, who has been linked with some heavyweight sides on the continent after another stellar season in which he bagged 18 goals and 13 assists.

Star man: Matt O’Riley

Dundee 7.5/10

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: Dundee manager Tony Docherty celebrates securing top 6 during a cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and Dundee at Pittodrie Stadium, on April 13, 2024, in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Image: Dundee manager Tony Docherty celebrates securing a top six finish

Tony Docherty has taken to his first managerial role like a duck to water after succeeding Gary Bowyer last summer. Docherty, a long time assistant to Derek McInnes at St Johnstone, Bristol City and Aberdeen, made the step up after Bowyer left Dens Park shortly after securing promotion back to the Premiership.

His impact has been pretty remarkable, so much so that he was nominated for the PFA Manager of the Year award. Dundee secured a top six spot with a point at Aberdeen in April and put a massive dent in Rangers’ title challenge with a stalemate the following week.

Yes, the somewhat farcical nature of repeated postponements of that match against Philippe Clement’s side was not a great look, but Docherty’s team have put in some impressive performances when they have actually taken to the pitch.

Owen Beck was an inspired loan signing from Liverpool, even if injuries have curtailed the last few months of his season, while the likes of Lyall Cameron and Luke McCowan have been outstanding in midfield.

If Docherty is able to hold on to all three for next season – which will be easier said than done – you wouldn’t bet against Dundee finishing in the top half of the table again next time around.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 27: Dundee's Luke McCowan celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Dundee at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on January 27, 2024, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Image: Dundee’s Luke McCowan enjoyed a fine season

What do they need next season? Can Dundee hold on to Cameron and McCowan? It will be vital to their ambitions next season but both are heading into the final year of their contracts. While goals have been spread fairly well about the team, conceding has been an issue Docherty will want to address for next season. Dundee have conceded 68, the second highest in the division after relegated Livingston. Many have come in a few heavy defeats to either half of the Old Firm but the manager will be mindful of it next year.

Star man: Luke McCowan

Heart of Midlothian 8/10

Hearts are currently on a four-game winning run in the Scottish Premiership under Steven Naismith

Image: Steven Naismith has taken Hearts back into Europe next season

It has been another successful season for Steven Naismith, who has established himself as Hearts head coach in his first full season at the helm.

A third place finish and two wins over champions Celtic, home and away, alongside two cup semi-final spots point towards a satisfying campaign, although there may have been disappointment at not being able to visit Hampden at least once more this season.

Lawrence Shankland has flourished once again under Naismith, scooping the PFA Scotland player of the year award as well as the Scottish Football Writers Association Player of the Year on his way to breaking the 30-goal barrier in all competitions, despite intense speculation over his future in the January transfer window.

It isn’t all about Shankland, however. Hearts have the third meanest defence in the league, and while Craig Gordon’s continued absence was a blow, Zander Clark has helped his side to 16 clean sheets for the season – the second highest behind Jack Butland at Rangers.

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Lawrence Shankland on winning the PFA Scotland Player of the Year prize, his future and the Euros with Scotland

What do they need next season? Does Shankland stay or does he go? The Scotland striker is heading into the final year of his contract and says he expects further talks over the summer, when he should be involved with Steve Clarke’s squad at Euro 2024.

Regardless of whether Hearts do decide to cash in on their star striker, Naismith needs to find a way of adding goals to his squad overall. Shankland may have bagged 24 in the league for the season, but the drop off to second top scorer Kenneth Vargas on six, is significant.

Star man: Lawrence Shankland

Hibernian 3/10

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 30: Hibs Manager Nick Montgomery during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Hibernian at Ibrox Stadium, on March 30, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Image: Nick Montgomery was sacked as Hibs manager in May

It has been another hugely disappointing season for Hibernian, who again find themselves without a permanent manager after the departure of Nick Montgomery earlier this month.

Bill Foley’s Black Knights, who own Bournemouth, secured a 25 per cent stake in the club in March, with their investment potentially helping to fund stadium and training ground developments while adding to the first-team budget.

It is up to new sporting director Malky Mackay to ensure those transfer funds are finally spent wisely, but to also find the right manager to take the club forward, ensuring bottom six finishes like this season are consigned to the past.

Hibernian have been underachieving for too long now. Whoever is in charge next season needs to get Hibs challenging for trophies and a place in Europe next season.

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Hibernian greats Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson reflect on playing their last game at Easter Road

What do they need next season? Club stalwarts Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson, both part of the 2016 Scottish Cup winning side, will leave Easter Road this summer after playing over 1100 games combined for Hibs. That experience will not be easy to replace, especially with the managerial position in such flux.

Hibs’ recruitment has been sporadic and disjointed for too long now, hindered undoubtedly by turnover in the dugout and that should improve with Mackay overseeing things. Making Myziane Maolida’s loan move a permanent one would be a start.

Star man: Myziane Maolida

Kilmarnock 8/10

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes

Image: Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes has taken the club back into Europe

Derek McInnes did an outstanding job of keeping Kilmarnock in the Premiership last season after their return to the top flight but few could have expected such an impressive campaign this time around.

Killie have secured fourth spot and a place in the second qualifying round stage of the Europa League for their efforts and European football is richly deserved. No one outside of the Old Firm has beaten Kilmarnock since December 2.

McInnes and his team got their league campaign off to the best possible start with a shock 1-0 victory over Rangers at Rugby Park. They would follow that up with wins in the Premiership and League Cup over Celtic, even taking a point at Parkhead in February.

The permanent signing of Lewis Mayo from Rangers has been an inspired one while 19-year-old David Watson was one of the stories of the Premiership season, as his outstanding performances earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

McInnes, nominated for the PFA Manager of the Year award, was rewarded for another fine season when he won the Premiership Manager of the Season prize on Friday.

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David Watson on receiving the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year Award and looks ahead to a European campaign with Kilmarnock next season

What do they need next season? Much of their summer activity may depend on whether the club decides to cash in on Watson. The teenager signed a new contract until 2026 in November so they are well placed to ask for a significant fee for the midfielder. McInnes will be keen to make challenging for Europe a given, rather than a bonus and, while defensively robust as always, may want to add more goals to his team.

Star man: David Watson

Livingston 2/10

Livingston captain Michael Devlin as their winless run continues

Image: Livingston will be playing in the Championship next season

David Martindale had Livingston punching well above their weight for a number of years but they finally succumbed to relegation and will be playing in the Championship next season.

The Lions had traditionally been a stubborn side to break down but at 70 have conceded the most goals in the league this season. Combine that with scoring just 29 goals, with the lowest number of shots and shots on target across the division, and it is no surprise that the drop has finally caught up with them.

There used to be a hint of anxiety for both Rangers and Celtic when making the trip to Almondvale but those days appear to have gone.

Joel Nouble, who is out of contract in the summer, has been a key player for Livi but has managed just one goal in the league this term and his goals have been badly missed.

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Livingston boss David Martindale takes responsibility for the club’s relegation

What do they need next season? The playing squad will likely undergo a real overhaul heading into the Championship but it appears as though work is well underway already. Livi have already announced the pre-contract signings of Daniel Finlayson, Ricky Korboa, Robbie Muirhead, Matthew Clarke and Liam Sole ahead of next season.

Bruce Anderson is set to leave after three years at the club but keeping hold of the likes of Tete Yengi and Stephen Kelly will be pivotal if they are to come straight back up, while ensuring Martindale is still around to oversee a promotion push will be just as vital.

Star man: Tete Yengi

Motherwell 6/10

Theo Bair scores for Motherwell penalty

Image: Theo Bair scored some vital goals for Motherwell

Motherwell’s position of ninth in the Premiership table doesn’t quite tell the whole story of their season. They sit on more points than sixth-placed Dundee thanks to the top-flight split but there have been highs in a season mixed with a few lows.

Stuart Kettlewell’s position was under scrutiny in December after a run of 12 games without a win even though they had taken a well-earned point at Parkhead in that time. The club stuck with Kettlewell, who picked up enough points to stave off the lingering threat of a relegation fight with plenty of time to spare.

However, the club have suffered with inconsistency all season. A 5-0 thumping win over Ross County in February was followed by a disappointing Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Greenock Morton three days later.

A first win at Ibrox since 1997 in March against a Rangers side that had won 11 games on the bounce was followed up by a meek defeat at home to Aberdeen.

DINGWALL, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 05: Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell during a cinch Premership match betweeen Ross County and Motherwell at the Global Energy Stadium, on December 05,2023, in Dingwall, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Image: Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell was under pressure earlier this season

What do they need next season? Kettlewell will want to see Motherwell start to make moves into the top six places next season. For too long they hovered uncomfortably over the relegation play-off spot this season and, despite being the third highest scorers in the league, they still have a negative goal difference. They have kept just three clean sheets all season, the lowest in the league, and that has to be addressed.

The emergence of Theo Bair and Lennon Miller has been a major positive for Kettlewell – can he hold on to them and bring in that little bit of extra quality that will see Motherwell trouble the top six as opposed to the play-off spot?

Star man: Theo Bair

Rangers 6/10

Phillipe Clement won the League Cup with Rangers in December

Image: Philippe Clement won the League Cup with Rangers in December

Few would have predicted that Rangers would still be battling for a treble as late as May after a pitiful start to the season which included three league defeats in their first seven games and saw Michael Beale sacked after 10 months in charge.

Philippe Clement’s arrival saw an immediate reversal in fortunes as they clawed back a seven-point deficit to Celtic to set up one of the tightest title battles in a number of years. The Belgian guided Rangers to their first League Cup win in 12 years in December and to the last 16 of the Europa League where they went down to Portuguese giants Benfica 3-2 on aggregate.

However, it was shortly before their European exit that Rangers’ title challenge began to wobble. A battling victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park was immediately followed by a 2-1 defeat at home to Motherwell.

A defeat at Ross County and draw at Dundee were slips too far for Rangers in their title chase. Taking one point from four Old Firm meetings in the league proved to be another decisive factor as a 3-3 draw at Ibrox was followed up by a 2-1 defeat at Parkhead as Celtic all but secured the title.

Rangers have a chance to redeem themselves somewhat this weekend when they meet Celtic at Hampden in the Scottish Cup final with Clement chasing his first derby victory as Rangers boss. A win here would secure a cup double and break Brendan Rodgers’ stranglehold over the fixture.

Jack Butland celebrates after saving Matt O'Riley's penalty

Image: Jack Butland impressed during his first season at Rangers

What do they need next season? Clement has spoken on numerous occasions about Rangers’ injury list. Ahead of the visit of Dundee in the penultimate round of the season, the manager listed the 11 first-team players who would be unavailable to him for the match. The club needs to find solutions to a “puzzle” that has played a part in derailing Rangers title challenges for a number of years now.

Big players including John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Kemar Roofe and Borna Barisic are all set to leave the club at the end of their contracts and Rangers simply have to get their summer recruitment right ahead of another rebuild. They have little margin for error.

Star man: Jack Butland

Ross County 4/10

Simon Murray salutes the crowd after equalising for Ross County against Rangers

Image: Simon Murray scored some key goals for Ross County this season

It was always going to be a struggle for Malky Mackay to replicate his first season at the Global Energy Stadium, when he took Ross County to a top six finish but the club has regressed since then. They avoided relegation last season by the barest of margins in their play-off with Partick Thistle.

Mackay only lasted until November, when he was sacked with County only above Livingston on goal difference and having not won in nine games.

His replacement Don Cowie oversaw a decent turnaround in fortunes, which included the club’s first ever win over Rangers in April.

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Highlights of Ross County’s historic first ever Scottish Premiership win over Rangers

They had been set to secure their Premiership status with a victory over St Johnstone in the penultimate round of the season but Adama Sidibeh’s last minute goal kept the play-off scrap ticking over until the final day.

Ross County then failed to beat Aberdeen at home while St Johnstone got what they needed at Fir Park to set up another nail-biting play-off final.

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Ross County drew with Aberdeen meaning they now face a play-off to avoid relegation

Yan Dhanda, who should complete his free transfer to Hearts in the summer, has again been pivotal for the Staggies but who knows where County would be without Simon Murray’s 13 league goals.

What do they need next season? County will have to work hard to replace Dhanda’s creativity but Cowie has shown plenty of signs that he is the man to help take the club to the next level next season, if they can get past Raith Rovers in the play-off. Supporters will be keen to see progress in moving away from the bottom two spots. Retaining Murray’s goals will be key but County’s defence continues to be an issue, with only Dundee and the relegated Livingston conceding more this season.

Star man: Simon Murray

St. Johnstone 4/10

PERTH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 07: St Johnstone manager Craig Levein during a cinch Premiership match between St Johnstone and Heart of Midlothian at McDiarmid Park, on February 07, 2024, in Perth, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Image: Craig Levein took over at St Johnstone in November

It has been a hugely frustrating season for St Johnstone.

The appointment of Craig Levein following the sacking of Steven MacLean in October did provide some temporary relief and pulled them clear of the automatic relegation place but you couldn’t shake the feeling that they were never totally out of the woods.

A 1-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall in February opened up daylight in their bid to avoid the relegation mix but they followed that up with four straight defeats and have taken just five points from nine games since the start of March.

A last minute equaliser from Adama Sidibeh against the Staggies in the penultimate round of fixtures was vital as they secured their top-flight status following a final day win at Motherwell.

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St Johnstone avoided the relegation play-offs after a win at Motherwell on the final day

The Perth side found themselves in this position thanks in large part to a serious lack of goals this season. Nicky Clark and Stevie May, so often instrumental in scoring the goals to keep St Johnstone ticking over, have struggled this season. Clark has seven in the league, with May’s solitary strike coming in the League Cup in July.

PERTH, SCOTLAND - MARCH 02: St Johnstone's Nicky Clark celebrates scoring to make it 1-1 with teammate Stevie May (L) during a cinch Premiership match between St Johnstone and Livingston at McDiarmid Park, on March 02, 2024, in Perth, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Image: Nicky Clark’s seven goals make him St Johnstone’s top goalscorer this season

What do they need next season? St Johnstone will want to avoid being in this position again next season. Owner Geoff Brown agreed to sell the club to American lawyer – and Cambridge United minority shareholder – Adam Webb earlier this month. The hope is that can rejuvenate a club whose position in the league has felt a little stale over the past few seasons, especially after the high of winning a cup double under Callum Davidson in 2021.

Star man: Dimitar Mitov

St. Mirren 8/10

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 24: St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson during a cinch Premiership match between St Mirren and St Johnstone at the SMiSA Stadium, on February 24, 2024, in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Image: Stephen Robinson has led St Mirren back into Europe for the first time since 1987

Stephen Robinson can head into the summer with a sense of satisfaction once more after guiding St Mirren to back-to-back top six finishes in the Premiership, even bettering last season’s final league position.

Even more exciting for the Saints is what that fifth place finish means – they will enter the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League next season, with Robinson leading St Mirren back into Europe for the first time since 1987.

Toyosi Olusanya and Mikael Mandron have chipped in with some vital goals this season, but Alex Gogic has probably best defined the side’s determined attitude. St Mirren have been in the top six conversation all season and have very effectively gone about their business throughout the campaign.

Their first Premiership loss of the season came to Rangers in October, showing how positively they had started and they found a great deal of consistency throughout the season. Their top six hopes were seriously boosted when Mark O’Hara and Olusanya scored in stoppage time to earn a 2-1 win over Aberdeen in March, sparking wild celebrations at the SMISA stadium.

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Aberdeen

What do they need next season? Olusanya extended his deal earlier in the year and Gogic signed a new three-year contract earlier this month, showing Robinson is keen to keep his key players with an eye on next season. However, the manager will want to add goals over the summer. Only the three relegation contenders – Livingston, Ross County and St Johnstone – have scored fewer this season. Adding more goals could push St Mirren on again next term and possibly see them put a cup run together.

Star man: Alex Gogic

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