Scottish Championship Leaders in Expected Goals per shot

Jordan White

written by – Rangers Report

In a recent post we broke down each Rangers players’ stats to determine which players were getting the ‘best shots’ on average.  In other words, which players were getting into areas for their shots that tend to have a higher probability of actually scoring a goal.  The two leaders were Jason Holt & Kenny Miller.  Based on the Expected Goals model, their average shots had a 19% chance of being a goal.  This was evidence that a high rate of their shots were coming from the heart of the penalty area.  It helped highlight Holt’s effective play & put a spotlight on the poor finishing that Miller has suffered through this season.

Now, let’s put Holt & Miller’s numbers in context with the rest of the Scottish Championship (note:  only players with 10 shots or better were considered).

Player Team Shots Goals xG xG per Sh
Jordan White Livingston 15 4 3.64 0.243
Jason Holt Rangers 16 4 2.99 0.187
Kenny Miller Rangers 17 2 3.28 0.187
David Gray Hibs 10 0 1.85 0.185
Mark Stewart Raith Rovers 21 4 3.85 0.183
Blair Alston Falkirk 15 3 2.72 0.181
Barrie McKay Rangers 11 2 1.83 0.166
Jamie McCluskey Morton 18 1 2.88 0.160
Bob McHugh Falkirk 14 2 2.20 0.157
Michael Chopra Alloa 11 1 1.72 0.157
  • Jordan White has been a revelation this season for Livingston & constantly keeps coming up whenever we look at a variety of fancy stats on this site.  The 23-year old forward, currently valued at €75,000, has seen limited minutes for stretches this season but has arguably been the catalyst behind Livingston’s recent turn for the better.  In 572 minutes, he is averaging 2.36 shots per 90 minutes & 0.63 goals per 90.  He has also added two assists, meaning his points per 90 is at 0.94 per 90.  His Expected Goals per shot is significantly better then the rest of the league.  It will be interesting to see if he can continue this current form, as Livi will be likely to rely on him much more going forward. Currently, 53% of his shots are on target & 50% of White’s shots on target have been goals.  That shooting percentage will be difficult to sustain, but if he keeps getting those quality shots on target, it is likely the goals will keep coming.
  • Of David Gray’s shots, 40% have come from Very High Danger areas – basically within the vicinity of the six yard box.  However, only 25% of those shots have been on target as Gray has found a way to miss from very close range on three of those four shots.
  • Mark Stewart has the highest total Expected Goals on this list & that leads us to shift our focus.  The aforementioned players are getting quality shots off, but let’s now look at which players are getting the most shots & which of those players generating quality shots from their opportunities.
Martyn Waghorn, courtesy of RFC
Player Team Shots Goals xG xG per Sh
Martyn Waghorn Rangers 48 7 6.87 0.143
James Tavernier Rangers 38 6 2.79 0.073
Derek Lyle Queen of the South 37 5 3.22 0.087
Ross Forbes Morton 36 1 2.19 0.061
John Baird Falkirk 35 9 4.28 0.122
Denny Johnstone Morton 35 5 4.59 0.131
Jason Cummings Hibs 34 6 4.65 0.137
Will Vaulks Falkirk 26 3 2.36 0.091
Lee Wallace Rangers 25 5 2.97 0.119
Dominique Malonga Hibs 24 2 3.49 0.145
Stephen Mallan St. Mirren 21 2 2.29 0.109
Mark Stewart Raith Rovers 21 4 3.85 0.183
John McGinn Hibs 20 2 1.17 0.059
Liam Henderson Hibs 20 3 2.32 0.116
James Keatings Hibs 19 4 1.67 0.088
Willie Gibson Dumbarton 19 2 1.59 0.084
Jon Daly Raith Rovers 19 1 2.39 0.126
Bobby Barr Morton 18 1 2.4 0.133
Jamie McCluskey Morton 18 1 2.88 0.160
Ryan Conroy Queen of the South 18 0 0.9 0.050

Only non-penalty shots are accounted for.  For example, Waghorn has eight penalty shots & seven penalty goals.  Those numbers have been omitted from this list.

xG per Shot2

  • The average for the players on this list is 26 shots & 0.11 xG per shot.  So basically – Lee Wallace.
  • The players in the upper right coordinates are getting a high volume of shots & they are from relatively dangerous areas.  Martyn Waghorn, John Baird, Denny Johnstone, & Jason Cummings really have been the best forwards in the league this season & these numbers validate that.  Baird, 30 years old, is coming off a hat trick, while Johnstone on loan from Birmingham City, propelled Morton to victory this weekend with two goals.  We all know the exploits of Waghorn, but it is time to give Cummings credit for his strong play this season.  The 20-year old has the second most Expected Goals in the league & is averaging 3.24 shots per 90 minutes.  Of his shots 56% have been on target & of those shots on target 40% have been goals.  That suggests that his form is sustainable going forward.
  • The players to the lower right of Lee Wallace represent players who are getting quality shots but don’t have the volume of shots to put them at the level of Waghorn, Baird,  Mark Stewart & Jon Daly are leading a team that struggles to get shots, while Bobby Barr’s  shot totals are actually quite high given that he is a midfielder.  The fact that those high shot totals that are also coming from quality areas is impressive, however his finishing has been quite poor.  Only 33% of his shots have been on target & only 17% of those shots have been goals.  If his xG per shot numbers can sustain, you’d think that his shooting percentages should also rise.  Jamie McCluskey’s shooting accuracy & percentage rates are identical to his teammate, Barr.  If those two players could improve on their finishing, watch out for Morton.
  • Players to the upper left of Lee Wallace, are getting a high volume of shots but on average they are not coming from High Danger areas.  For James Tavernier that makes sense, given that most of his shots are coming from outside the penalty area (partly because of his role as primary free kick taker).  For midfielder Ross Forbes, 32 of his 36 shots have come from outside the penalty area & only 19% have been on  target.  The volume is there, but little else.
  • Derek Lyle’s numbers are skewed by the number of headed shots he gets.  Those shots are coming from a High Danger area (the heart of the penalty area) but headed shots are not leading to goals in the Championship this season unless they are from the vicinity of the six yard box.  In the league this season, 7% of High Danger headed shots have led to goals & 27% of the Very High Dangers headed shots have been goals.  While Lyle has twelve headed shots from a High Danger area & eight have been on target, only one has been a goal.  That translates to 13% of those shots on target being goals, which is much more effective then the rest of the league.  Meanwhile, he has two Very High Danger headed shots & one has been on target.  That shot on target was also a goal.  This is where advanced stats can function as an entry point to video analysis.  A performance analyst could review the film to see what Lyle & his teammate may be able to do to get those headers closer to the six yard box.  Lyle is a real threat in the air, but the further he gets from goal the less effective that threat is.

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