Rangers statistically most productive players

Dean Shiels, courtesy of PA

written by – Rangers Report

With the Scottish Championship nearing the quarter point, it seemed like a good time to share this season’s advanced offensive stats for Rangers.  

Goalscoring:

Back in 2013, Ben Puglsey of Statsbomb & Objective Footy explained why you should always evaluate players using per 90 metrics, rather than just the raw data. “It gives us context when evaluating players who play wildly different minutes over the course of a season.  Raw numbers can be misleading.  It really is vital to convert a player’s numbers into per 90 format if we want to understand how well a player performed given his minutes played.”

“Per 90 may take a little getting used to, and the numbers in the per 90 chart may look a little odd at first glance, but once one looks at player stats in per 90 format, it’s awfully difficult to go back to using a player’s raw stats for evaluation and comparison purposes.”

So, below you will find the scoring rate per 90 minutes & their Expected Goals per 90 minutes.  Then as a means to assess whether a player is outperforming or under-performing based on those numbers, the difference between the two is included.  Additionally, a player’s shooting percentage is included (the percentage of goals scored per shot on target).  Lastly, the players raw data of total non-penalty goals are there.

Player Goals/90 xG/90 Diff Sh % Total NPG
Dean Shiels 0.73 0.57 0.16 0.500 1
Lee Wallace 0.63 0.34 0.29 0.571 4
Kenny Miller 0.47 0.42 0.05 0.333 2
James Tavernier 0.45 0.35 0.10 0.429 3
Jason Holt 0.41 0.34 0.07 0.500 2
Barrie McKay 0.36 0.19 0.17 0.667 2
Martyn Waghorn 0.30 0.45 -0.15 0.286 2
Nicky Law 0.25 0.13 0.12 0.333 1
Andy Halliday 0.14 0.12 0.02 0.250 1
  • While Dean Shiels stats are skewed by his lack of minutes (123), nearly every time an advanced stat is presented — Shiels tops the charts.
  • Players like Lee Wallace, James Tavernier & Barrie McKay are probably not going to keep up this pace.  Not only does the difference between Goals/90 & xG/90 reflect that so does their high shooting percentages.  At this rate, Wallace will score 22 goals this season…that’s not going to happen.  Tavernier is projected to get 16 at this rate & McKay is slotted to get 12.  If they maintain shooting shooting percentages close to 35-40%, that production seems more plausible but still not likely.
  • Players like Jason Holt & Kenny Miller are scoring at a rate that they should be, given their Expected Goals rates.  If Miller’s minutes are managed, he could sustain this rate – especially at a Championship level.  Holt, on the otherhand, came in on a hot streak given his shooting percentage was at 63% last season.  That is not sustainable so it’s not likely that he can keep scoring at a 0.41 goals/90 rate but his current Expected Goals rate suggests that when he creates chances for himself they are of a high quality.
  • The only player on Rangers who is underperforming based on his Expected Goals is the player whose primary job is to score goals.  Yes, Martyn Waghorn has eight goals on the season, but six have come from the penalty spot.  In the run of play, he has not been up-to-par when it comes to scoring.  However, it should be noted that Waghorn’s current production is actually on par to the rest of his career.  His career goals per 90 rate is 0.33 & last season it was 0.34.  It’s slightly lower this season, mainly because of his finishing.  His 0.286 shooting percentage is below his career rate of 0.37.   What’s interesting is that his shooting accuracy (the percentage of shots that are on target) is actually up this season compared to last (0.37 compared to 0.32).  While his all-around play & versatility has been a revelation this season, this may just be who Waghorn is as a goal scorer.  As of now, he is on pace for 11 non-penalty goals – which isn’t bad but it’s also not that great.
Barrie McKay, courtesy of RFC

Assists:

Player Assists/90 Total Assists
Barrie McKay 0.54 3
Martyn Waghorn 0.45 3
Nathan Oduwa 0.33 1
James Tavernier 0.30 2
Nicky Law 0.25 1
Kenny Miller 0.23 1
Jason Holt 0.21 1
Lee Wallace 0.16 1
  • It should be noted that this statistic is partly subjective based on the official Opta scorer tracking the match.  There have been goals set-up by players that appeared to earn the assist but the official scorer leaves his name of the scoresheet.  Also, keep in mind the assist goes to the last player to touch the ball before it ends up on the feet of the goalscorer.  In a match earlier this season, everyone was giving the assist to Jason Holt or Gedion Zelalem (my memory is failing me) as they whipped the goal towards goal.  But right before the ball was fired home, a sliding Waghorn got a toe on it before it fell to the actual goalscorer (again, memory issues) & Waghorn got the assist.  So it’s a funny stat, but in the long run can also be a very useful stat.
  • Many are anointing Barrie McKay as being among Rangers best players this season & the stats support that claim.  The fact that he is contributing an assist in every other game on average is a big reason why his play can be a catalyst to Rangers success.  He has had a tinge of consistency problems this season but he is a young, developing player who is more than proving his worth so far.
  • While the statistics weren’t too flattering with regard to Martyn Waghorn’s goal scoring, these numbers support what the ‘eyetest’ tells us – that he is a very capable, all-around forward at this level.
Barrie McKay

Points (non-penalty goals + assist):

Player Points/90 Total Pts
Barrie McKay 0.90 5
Lee Wallace 0.79 5
Martyn Waghorn 0.75 5
James Tavernier 0.75 5
Dean Shiels 0.73 1
Kenny Miller 0.70 3
Jason Holt 0.62 3
Nicky Law 0.50 2
Nathan Oduwa 0.33 1
Andy Halliday 0.14 1
  • Barrie McKay, Lee Wallace, Martyn Waghorn, & James Tavernier have each played a role in 28% of Rangers non-penalty goals this season.  Again, this is where the statistics support the ‘eyeball’ test.  If you polled supporters on who have been the best players this season – these four names would likely be among the top vote getters.

Stats only include league matches.  Including stats from cup matches can skew the output, especially when playing against League One or League Two teams.  For example, when I wrote last year about Kris Boyd’s poor goal per 90 minutes last January – some readers exclaimed, “But he’s scored ten goals!  How is that bad?”  Boyd had three goals in league matches & seven in cup matches.  His goals per 90 in league matches last season was 0.16, but if you include cup matches it was 0.36.

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

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