PRESSURE is never far away for a Premiership manager even when things are going relatively well.
And it clings to them tighter than Nadine Dorries grabbing on to Boris Johnson’s coattails once fans start talking about a change of leader.
Patience is in short supply these days, with the added toxicity of social media turning the heat up further on the poor saps in the dugout.
Three managers – Lee Johnson, Michael Beale and Steven MacLean – have already been axed this season and you suspect it won’t be too long before we see another casualty.
Stevie Naismith looks to be the most at risk with Hearts fans far from happy after last week’s loss to Rangers in the League Cup semi-final.
It’s now just four wins in 13 games for the Jambos so Naismith desperately needs three points at Motherwell this afternoon.
It’s also a big match for opposite number Stuart Kettlewell as he bids to steer Well out of a tailspin.
The idea that Kettlewell would be under pressure seemed ludicrous a few months ago after he followed up a stunning end to last season by taking 10 points from the first 12 in the new Premiership campaign.
But the Steelmen haven’t won since then and a run of six defeats in eight games has them nervously looking over their shoulders.
Things looked grim in midweek when they trailed 2-0 at rock-bottom St Johnstone but Well showed a bit of spirit to hit back for a draw.
Today’s clash is hard to call and it’s reflected in the odds and McBookie price Kettlewell’s side at 19/10, with the Jambos 11/8 and a draw paying 12/5.
Mika Biereth grabbed Well’s leveller in Perth and the Arsenal loanee has scored twice in three games since coming back from an injury.
The youngster could get some joy against a Hearts defence that has been leaking goals and looks over priced at 7/2 (Unibet) to score.
The honeymoon period also seems to be over for Nick Montgomery at Hibs, with a defeat to 10-man Aberdeen in the League Cup semi-final followed by the concession of last-gasp leveller at St Mirren in midweek.
It looked like true love for Hibees fans when Montgomery breathed life into the team that had flopped under Johnson but they’re now finding out their new squeeze leaves clipped toenails in the
bath and has a Spotify playlist of Stock, Aitken and Waterman standards.
Montgomery has gone seven games without a win and faces a tricky task today at home to a Kilmarnock side in good form.
Killie have won three of their last four and will look to hurt the ropey Hibs defence on the counter attack.
I’d expect Montgomery’s side to rack up a few corners so Hibs -1 in that handicap looks good at 11/10 with William Hill.
Craig Levein started his reign at St Johnstone with a point but will be looking for a win when Ross County come calling this afternoon.
Dundee are flying under Tony Docherty and it’s all based on a solid defence. St Mirren head to Dens today and I fancy a one-goal winning margin for either side (5/4, McBookie).
The title race resumes tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how Celtic respond to their Madrid mauling when Aberdeen come calling.
Luis Palma’s long-range shooting could be key and he’s 7/4 (Bet365) for a goal.
Philippe Clement has Rangers flying but faces his first trip to the Tony Macaroni’s plastic pitch.
I’m going for Gers corners in this one and backing them at -4 in that handicap pays a best 13/10 with William Hill.
Scottish Super singles
HT draw Well (6/5, Bet365)
Hibs -1 corner h’cap (11/10, William Hill)
One-goal win at Dens (5/4, McBookie)
Luis Palma to score (7/4, Bet365).