Levein's Report Card


Northern saint
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It's now been three months since Levein was thrust back into soccer management with Saints.  How do you feel he has done?  

I'm probably at 3 out of 10.  For once we had the semblance of a team with more of the new signings looking capable (at least those given a chance).  

I'm struggling big time with his team selections as there is little continuity, so partnerships have never developed.  I don't see a style of play which defines us and fits the players we have.  Each week it looks they've never met before.  No one runs into space for a pass, only the big boot or header to the opposition.  This league is the poorest for a long time and we don't have a go.  

We look far better when we are actually trying to have a go yet we are sent out apparently not to cross the halfway line.  One up front when we have no one who can play that style.  

To those who hope, Wright, Clark will miraculously be fit for the rest of the season and be world class (or better premier class even) is fanciful if the play designs are so negative.  

The treatment of Sprangler is strange as he gives us someone who does the defensive duties yet can pass to a Saints player.  I've yet to speak to a fan who understands this.  

No front pairing to give us goals and no width to provide opportunities.   

By now I'd hoped for a style of play which suited our players.  A settled team, on merit, playing to their strengths with coached runs, angles to pass, creative set pieces to use our strengths.  Be able later on to bring some of the fringe players on to give them minutes to show they can be good.  

Have the players lost faith in Levein/Kirk already as recent performances could suggest?  It will take a major change of style to make me think he was the right choice.  I hope I'm wrong.

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Bit like my report card, very inconsistent and can do better.

I think he is a coach who goes by the the old adage if the opposition don’t score, then we can’t lose.

Unfortunately we don’t score too many either.

He did bring stability to our season which was free falling to the championship and to think we are only 5 points out of the top 6 is unbelievable.

But am I confident we will stay up, I’m not too sure, his team selections are all over the shop, which must infuriate the players at times as much as it does us fans.

I would give him a 4 out of 10 as he has above the bottom 2 spots at present.

The gap between the OF and the rest of the teams  right now feels as wide as I can remember, so a winning run of a few games can go along way to staying up, but we also know we are a few more bad results away from potentially the drop.

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1 hour ago, Northern saint said:

It's now been three months since Levein was thrust back into soccer management with Saints.  How do you feel he has done?  

I'm probably at 3 out of 10.  For once we had the semblance of a team with more of the new signings looking capable (at least those given a chance).  

I'm struggling big time with his team selections as there is little continuity, so partnerships have never developed.  I don't see a style of play which defines us and fits the players we have.  Each week it looks they've never met before.  No one runs into space for a pass, only the big boot or header to the opposition.  This league is the poorest for a long time and we don't have a go.  

We look far better when we are actually trying to have a go yet we are sent out apparently not to cross the halfway line.  One up front when we have no one who can play that style.  

To those who hope, Wright, Clark will miraculously be fit for the rest of the season and be world class (or better premier class even) is fanciful if the play designs are so negative.  

The treatment of Sprangler is strange as he gives us someone who does the defensive duties yet can pass to a Saints player.  I've yet to speak to a fan who understands this.  

No front pairing to give us goals and no width to provide opportunities.   

By now I'd hoped for a style of play which suited our players.  A settled team, on merit, playing to their strengths with coached runs, angles to pass, creative set pieces to use our strengths.  Be able later on to bring some of the fringe players on to give them minutes to show they can be good.  

Have the players lost faith in Levein/Kirk already as recent performances could suggest?  It will take a major change of style to make me think he was the right choice.  I hope I'm wrong.

3 out of 10 feels harsh to me but I can't argue with any of your reasoning.

Right now I'd probably give him 5 out of 10. At first he seemed to be steadying the ship and making us more solid and organised. But it feels like that's fallen by the wayside of late and we're seeing some very odd team selections, which feel like they point towards him playing favourites. The continual selection of Max (raw, inexperienced, little impact on matches, doesn't seem to have found a position that he thrives in) over Sprangler (solid, brilliant at keeping possession, good at winning challenges without giving away fouls, has played at a really good level) is the obvious example of that, but I think there are possibly some others too.

Levein has spoken a few times about us needing to be braver and more positive but that's not reflected in his tactics at all. If we can't start with more than one striker at home to Motherwell, then when can we? I also think he's not proactive enough to react to what's happening on the pitch, and when he does make changes they sometimes seem to just unsettle and confuse the rest of the team. Saturday's substitutions were an absolute mess.

Personally I'm not too fussed about seeing us play incredible, attacking football, and I'm fine with us adopting a defensive approach if it actually gets us results, but so far I feel Levein's decisions have actually cost us quite a few points.

I still think the best we've played this season was probably the game where Cleland was in charge, and I'd actually have liked to see him given a few more games at that point to see how things went. And was it really the best decision to put a guy in charge of training who was previously managing a part-time team in the Highland League? I have a lot of doubts about that.

I'm still reasonably positive that Levein will keep us up, but I really expect better than what we've seen so far from a manager with so much experience. I think our squad is capable of producing much better than what we saw on Saturday.

 

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When he took over, I thought being able to get us out of the bottom two would be a major achievement. The results have clearly been better under him and inturn we have opened a gap between ourselves and Livingston.

I have missed the last two matches whilst on holiday, but I very much viewed this season as a "whatever it takes to stay up" after such a horrendous start.

The football hasn't been great at times, but we are far harder to break down and are picking up points, that in games under Macca would of seen us be defeated quite heavily.

I am encouraged by the signings he has made, whether they work or not, who knows, but he has a pretty garbage squad to try to upgrade.

I would like to see Sprangler start more, but I do wonder if he has the same concerns about lack of creativity, that I have with the three mamy mention together. I also wonder if he wants the higher earners in the likes of May and Kane to move on and thus is limiting their time in an attempt to motivate them to move. I would argue a fit May and Kane have something to offer, but that will depend on how well the new lad gets on and who this new striker he has lined up will be.

He has been alot more active in the market than I believed he was going to be allowed to be. There will be alot more space for a reshape in the summer as well.

Ofcourse he has his favourites, which manager doesn't? He will believe Max has the raw talent and ability to be formed into a good player for us.... I am happy to allow a young player with potential sell-on value to given the chance to develop. Also good to see Fran involved.

It has been far from perfect, but I like to give any management team, alot more than three months unless there are major warning signs or its clear there would be a disaster with no change.

Lets see what we look like at the end of the window and with the new players settled in.

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There is an article on the BBC about Martindale which delves into Saints a wee bit:

"When St Johnstone sacked Steven MacLean last October after a miserable winless start, the first name mooted as a replacement was that of David Martindale.

Livi were already on 10 points and another season of unlikely survival looked likely. Martindale was doing what Martindale does; extracting more from his paltry budget than he had any right to.

St Johnstone instead went for Craig Levein and now have 21 points, 17 more than they did when MacLean was sacked.

Livingston now have 12."

It is hard to just consider those points though as County have two games in hand over us which could possibly change the outlook of the table.

Personally what matter is the things others have also pointed out, lack of players providing runs, lack of attention when the ball is in our box, inability to score. The things that could really increase our points and get us back to where we are used to.

The square pegs and rounds holes still seems to be an issue, so are we are again hoping we can push/survive to the summer with what we have rather than developing tactics with what we have? At the end of the day the points haul from where we were to where we are is a huge positive.

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49 minutes ago, garydavidson said:

There is an article on the BBC about Martindale which delves into Saints a wee bit:

"When St Johnstone sacked Steven MacLean last October after a miserable winless start, the first name mooted as a replacement was that of David Martindale.

Livi were already on 10 points and another season of unlikely survival looked likely. Martindale was doing what Martindale does; extracting more from his paltry budget than he had any right to.

St Johnstone instead went for Craig Levein and now have 21 points, 17 more than they did when MacLean was sacked.

Livingston now have 12."

The fact that Martindale was our first choice still terrifies me. As many doubts as I have about Levein, I reckon we dodged an outright disaster in not getting Martindale.

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Definitely worth higher than 3 out of 10 in my opinion. We were pretty much doomed when he took over. Yes, the football hasn't always been pretty but we are in a better place now although crucial games ahead. We are a long way from safety but at least we no longer look like the written off off team. Livi have picked up that badge and I wonder if Martindale will stay for the rest of the season. Sounded on Saturday evening like he wasn't sure he was going to stay. 

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If purely on points I could see giving a five but and it's a big but, I don't see a style of play which gives a sign of training ground work.  I get it that we don't have players of the calibre of the top of the English Premiership but look what Tottenham are like which the previous three managers never achieved.  Surely after three months a decent manager knows that this player performs best in this position with these options and creates that.  Eleven players who each fit playing with the others in their roles would be an amazing team.

Under Cleland he was more adventurous and it seemed the players took that on.  I can't imagine how those who play well and get dropped feel when the usual crap replaces them.  

We can play four games and get four points.  Livi or RC can play 2 and get six as they do try and get forward.

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1 hour ago, Northern saint said:

If purely on points I could see giving a five but and it's a big but, I don't see a style of play which gives a sign of training ground work.  I get it that we don't have players of the calibre of the top of the English Premiership but look what Tottenham are like which the previous three managers never achieved.  Surely after three months a decent manager knows that this player performs best in this position with these options and creates that.  Eleven players who each fit playing with the others in their roles would be an amazing team.

Under Cleland he was more adventurous and it seemed the players took that on.  I can't imagine how those who play well and get dropped feel when the usual crap replaces them.  

We can play four games and get four points.  Livi or RC can play 2 and get six as they do try and get forward.

Cleland was one game and although a decent display can hardly judge on one game, Levein has steadied the ship, he could be more adventurous and is too slow with the subs at times. He appears to have steadied the defence, it’s now the midfield to front that needs sorted it’s a depressing watch the speed of attack and chances created.

Although second half against Aberdeen they attacked with intent and speed and showed what they are capable of, even in that absolute shit show on Saturday they created more than before. One thing that concerns me is the whole team seems to totally lose the plot in some games, like second half of Motherwell game passes were non existent straight to well players, basically letting them run through them and has happened a few games. Not sure all on Levein I think Davidson is the root of all this in his negative tactics and it’s going to be hard to shake it off.

Also if Levein gets rid of May and Kane it’s refreshing as too much sentiment with these guys be constantly injured or dreaming of how they used to be, it’s just not happening with either wasted wages  could be used on something different.

Averil at the moment 5/10 but think we have a good chance surviving which probably his his remit, Jet above must be his accountant as seems to know his personal financial position, maybe he is skint and needed the gig! 

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1 hour ago, crieffsaintandy said:

Cleland was one game and although a decent display can hardly judge on one game, Levein has steadied the ship, he could be more adventurous and is too slow with the subs at times. He appears to have steadied the defence, it’s now the midfield to front that needs sorted it’s a depressing watch the speed of attack and chances created.

Although second half against Aberdeen they attacked with intent and speed and showed what they are capable of, even in that absolute shit show on Saturday they created more than before. One thing that concerns me is the whole team seems to totally lose the plot in some games, like second half of Motherwell game passes were non existent straight to well players, basically letting them run through them and has happened a few games. Not sure all on Levein I think Davidson is the root of all this in his negative tactics and it’s going to be hard to shake it off.

Also if Levein gets rid of May and Kane it’s refreshing as too much sentiment with these guys be constantly injured or dreaming of how they used to be, it’s just not happening with either wasted wages  could be used on something different.

Averil at the moment 5/10 but think we have a good chance surviving which probably his his remit, Jet above must be his accountant as seems to know his personal financial position, maybe he is skint and needed the gig! 

There’s been a serious lack of fitness for a while now and with an aging squad looks like they’re struggling with 2 halves of football never mind 2 games a week . Maybe the reason the team keeps getting changed . 

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18 hours ago, SlickDT said:

I also wonder if he wants the higher earners in the likes of May and Kane to move on and thus is limiting their time in an attempt to motivate them to move.

 

12 hours ago, crieffsaintandy said:

Also if Levein gets rid of May and Kane it’s refreshing as too much sentiment with these guys be constantly injured or dreaming of how they used to be, it’s just not happening with either wasted wages  could be used on something different.

 

Curious to know why people think Levein wants rid of Kane, when he just gave him a new contract last month?

Incidentally, by my reckoning Kane is due to be added to our ever-growing but rarely-mentioned testimonial backlog, and May will be too if he stays to the end of his contract.

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7 minutes ago, blueheaven said:

 

 

Curious to know why people think Levein wants rid of Kane, when he just gave him a new contract last month?

Incidentally, by my reckoning Kane is due to be added to our ever-growing but rarely-mentioned testimonial backlog, and May will be too if he stays to the end of his contract.

No Way Levein is letting Kane go; he knows that he can create havoc when he's fit and always puts a shift in. I agree it seems he always seems to be carrying some sort of knock but he's high intensity all the time. We are going to need Kano to help us stay up.

I have to say it looks like May is on his way out. His body langauge at half time during the Aberdeen game showed this, he looked completely disinterested in the warm up which is not like him. It's a shame because he always gave his best. I hope he gets a game somewhere - he's a top pro.

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30 minutes ago, SaintJet said:

I have to say it looks like May is on his way out. His body langauge at half time during the Aberdeen game showed this, he looked completely disinterested in the warm up which is not like him. It's a shame because he always gave his best. I hope he gets a game somewhere - he's a top pro.

The interview in the Courier also suggests he is bottom of the pile:
"“It’s just numbers,” said Levein. “I got Nicky (Clark) back, there’s Benji and DJ (Jaiyesimi) has done OK for me.

“Kano (Chris Kane) was ill then hadn’t trained for a couple of days. It wasn’t so difficult to leave him out because he wasn’t 100% anyway.

“Stevie is a good guy, trains well, but I’ve got to make decisions.”"

Edited by garydavidson
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25 minutes ago, garydavidson said:

The interview in the Courier also suggests he is bottom of the pile:
"“It’s just numbers,” said Levein. “I got Nicky (Clark) back, there’s Benji and DJ (Jaiyesimi) has done OK for me.

“Kano (Chris Kane) was ill then hadn’t trained for a couple of days. It wasn’t so difficult to leave him out because he wasn’t 100% anyway.

“Stevie is a good guy, trains well, but I’ve got to make decisions.”"

Wow on one hand it seems like Levein isn’t scared to make the tough calls but then call me a sentimental fool, but I hope this isn’t another Spoony departure.

I guess if he thinks Stevie is surplus too our needs and he can get his wage out the door then he will be doing his best to do so

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43 minutes ago, garydavidson said:

The interview in the Courier also suggests he is bottom of the pile:
"“It’s just numbers,” said Levein. “I got Nicky (Clark) back, there’s Benji and DJ (Jaiyesimi) has done OK for me.

“Kano (Chris Kane) was ill then hadn’t trained for a couple of days. It wasn’t so difficult to leave him out because he wasn’t 100% anyway.

“Stevie is a good guy, trains well, but I’ve got to make decisions.”"

If we are relying on Benji or DJ we are ****ed.

Also where is this striker and speedy winger coming from , couple of days to go and no free agents in January and half the premiership looking as well.

A loan is the only option and that hasn't been very successful do far. 

There is no guarantee they would be better than Kane or May.

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8 minutes ago, Cagey said:

If we are relying on Benji or DJ we are ****ed.

Also where is this striker and speedy winger coming from , couple of days to go and no free agents in January and half the premiership looking as well.

A loan is the only option and that hasn't been very successful do far. 

There is no guarantee they would be better than Kane or May.

I tend to agree with this. I've no issue with moving away from Kane and May as neither have exactly been prolific over the last few seasons, but it only makes sense if we've signed or are signing someone who's actually better. DJ and Benji are very much yet to prove they're better in any department, other than perhaps pace. I can't help but worry that we've downgraded.

I do suspect our business isn't finished in this window yet, though. Wouldn't be massively surprised to see us bring another couple of players in at the last minute.

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