written by – Rangers Report
Upon re-signing with Kilmarnock, Kris Boyd exclaimed – “I am delighted to have signed once again for Kilmarnock. This is a great club for me. I feel I have done well here in the past and I am looking forward to getting fit and scoring more goals this time round.”
The apparent consensus is that Boyd will do just that. The expectation is that he will get in shape & begin banging in goals just like he did in his last go around with Kilmarnock, two seasons ago, when he scored 22 league goals in 36 matches.
The situation is very reminiscent to the reaction of Boyd coming back to Ibrox to propel Rangers back to the Premiership. Even if you didn’t agree with Ally McCoist’s archaic signing philosophy of regurgitating former Rangers pals – it was difficult to argue that signing Boyd was good business.
On this very blog, Jonny McFarlane, who now writes for the Daily Record, logically outlined why cynics needed to check themselves ahead of last season. McFarlane stated, “Boyd in particular has looked excellent in the top flight scoring 22 goals in a struggling team and adding many new aspects to his all round play.”
“At just 30 years old his signing is so obvious it’s like a cold, hard slap to the face. Who could do a better job, would agree to sign and be free?”
Then the season began & well….it’s difficult to put into words how pointless Boyd was in a league that most pundits said would be mere victims to the scoring prowess of Kris Boyd.
What happened? Where was the improved, more well-rounded Boyd who had used his experience with the Portland Timbers to be a catalyst to embracing the need to contribute in more ways then just scoring?
Some thought that Kenny Miller would struggle to find the back of the net after two & a half seasons in Vancouver where he was only averaging 0.39 goals per 90 minutes (eerily similar to his output last season). But Boyd? He scored 0.64 goals per 90 minutes with an average Kilmarnock team.
Was it fitness? Was it a failure to recapture the synergy of his partnership with Miller? Or was it simply a case of a player on the wrong side of his career? Most observers would agree that once a player hits 30 that their peak seasons are over & regression is knocking on the door.
The following data seems to support that simply getting older may be among the biggest factors in Boyd’s dip in play
I was able to collect the data of Boyd’s goals per 90 minutes for each season since the 2008-09 season & plotted it according to his age at the beginning of that season. In the years in which he played more multiple clubs, I combined the data to represent his total production for that whole season.
Boyd’s goal production had been declining, for the most part, since he turned 27. Even though his production bounced back a little when he was 29 – it was nowhere near the output he had even a couple of years before. The one outlier in this trend was the 2013-14 season with Kilmarnock. Was that his one last great season? Or will a return to familiar settings salvage his career – again?
However, if you follow the trend plotted above, it may be a stretch to think that he will simply slip back into that form after last season’s debacle, you may have to rethink that logic. After last season’s flop? Well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…
The following is a breakdown of Boyd’s goals per 90 minutes with each club he has played for since 2008.
His Rangers numbers the first go-around are obviously incomplete given that he scored 70+ goals for the club – unfortunately his minutes played data is unavailable.
You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport