Who have been the best (& worst) goalies in the Scottish Championship this season?

Wes Foderingham

written by – Rangers Report

Throughout the season we have been cataloging goalkeepers’ performance in relation to the goals they are expected to give up.  The work is inspired by Bill Reno’s work with American Soccer Analysis.  

The Goals Minus Expected Goals statistic measures how many goals a goalie has allowed in relation to how many goals the Expected Goals model suggests they should have given up.   Expected Goals Against only takes into account shots on target & really has highlighted keepers who are facing the high volumes of dangerous shots but are still keeping their teams in a match.  GmxG can also put a spotlight on which goalies are letting down their teams who may actually be playing well in front of them.

Here are the advanced stats for goalies who have featured on a regular basis in the Championship this season.  Players are ranked based on GmxG – the lower the number, the better.  Goals against do not include penalties or own goals

Goalkeeper  Team Min GA xGA GmxG Sv% xSv%
Grant Adam Morton 468 3 2.45 0.55 0.875 0.898
Marc McCallum Livingston 540 4 2.35 1.65 0.714 0.832
Derek Gaston Morton 992 10 7.20 2.80 0.821 0.871
Wes Foderingham Rangers 1170 7 3.57 3.43 0.774 0.885
Mark Oxley Hibs 1170 8 4.21 3.79 0.765 0.876
Danny Rogers Falkirk 1260 11 6.11 4.89 0.766 0.870
Andy McNeil Alloa Athletic 630 18 8.63 9.37 0.647 0.831
Jamie Langfield St. Mirren 990 13 6.24 6.76 0.759 0.884
Keith Cuthbert Raith Rovers 1170 15 7.47 7.53 0.727 0.864
David Crawford Alloa Athletic 630 13 4.51 8.49 0.606 0.863
Darren Jamieson Livingston 630 14 4.28 9.72 0.632 0.887
Robbie Thomson Queen of the South 1319 20 8.73 11.27 0.672 0.857
Mark Brown Dumbarton 1170 22 5.52 16.48 0.560 0.890

GA:  goals against, xGA:  Expected Goals allowed, GmxG: Goals minus Expected Goals, Sv%:  Save percentage, xSv%:  Expected Save Percentage

Now with any data set in soccer it is difficult to evaluate performance without taking how many minutes a player has played & breaking it down to a per 90 minutes average.

GA v xGA per 90

  • The average for this group of keepers is 1.22 goals against per 90 minutes & 0.55 xGA per 90 minutes.
  • The cluster of keepers in the bottom left are matching the strong performance of their defence.  The players in front of them are limiting the number of quality shots on target & the keepers are not letting their backline down.  The fact that goalies from Rangers, Hibs, & Falkirk are here is not a surprise given that these are the three best teams in the league.
  • Livingston’s Marc McCallum joined the club on loan from Dundee United in September.  His addition was desperately needed as his predecessor, Darren Jamieson, was really struggling to keep the ball out of the back of his net.   Jamieson was allowing 2.0 goals per 90 minutes, while McCallum’s has only allowed 0.67 goals per 90.  While the defence has improved in front of McCallum – 0.39 xGA per 90 compared to Jamieson’s 0.61- McCallum has clearly solidified the play in goal for Livi.
  • Grant Adam has played extremely well as a replacement for the injured Derek Gaston, part of that is due to Morton finally beginning to limit the quality shots they allow.  Gaston’s xGA per 90 is the second highest in the league, while his actual goals against per 90 is middle of the table.
  • Mark Brown has not been good.  The Dumbarton keeper is playing behind a defence that is doing an excellent job of limiting quality shots on target.  In fact, only Foderingham, Oxley, & McCallum have lower Expected Goals per 90 minutes – but only three keepers allow more goals allowed per 90 then Brown.  These statistics suggest that poor play in goal has cost Dumbarton points this season.
  • How bad is Alloa? It is difficult to put a spotlight on Andy McNeil’s poor performance without acknowledging that his Expected Goals against is nearly double the next highest number.
Grant Adam

image (2)

  • The above chart displays each keeper’s save percentage along the horizontal axis & his Expected Save percentage along the vertical axis.
  • The average results are a 0.717 save percentage & an 0.870 expected save percentage.
  • The keepers in the upper right part of the chart have come the closest to matching their xSv%.  These six keepers have been the best shot stoppers in the league so far this season.  However, this has also been in conjuction with playing behind defences that have done a good job of limiting the volume of dangerous shots that the keeper faces.
  • There are no goalies in the bottom right coordinates.  This would represent a performance on the level of The Goalkeeper from Roy of the Rovers.  So far, no goalie in  the Championship is generating a high save percentage while his xSv% is low.  Marc McCallum has come the closest.  His xSv% is 0.38 below the league average & his actual Sv% is 0.03 below the league average.
  • The keepers in the upper left part of the chart – Darren Jamieson & Mark Brown – represent the two worst performances by goalies this season.  Their Expected Save Percentages are significantly higher then the league average but their actual Save Percentages are among the worst.

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