The Best (& Worst) Sharpshooters in the Scottish Championship

Stephen Mallan, courtesy of SMFC
Stephen Mallan, courtesy of SMFC

written by – Rangers Report  graphs by – Mike Driggs

Given that we now have six months worth of data on the Scottish Championship season, I figured it was an opportune time to see which players have been the best (& worst) ‘sharpshooters’ this season.

Whom are we labeling sharpshooters?  Well, I decided to categorize players based on their efficiency on shots coming from outside the penalty area.  These are the goals that tend to become instant ‘goal of the year’ candidates & are also the rarest of goals.  This season, there have been 1,009 Low Danger Shots taken (shots taken outside the penalty box) & only 54 have ended up beating the goalie.  That’s right only 5% of the shots have ended up as goals.  Of these shots, 31% have been on target – but goalies make the save 83% of the time.  It’s hard enough to get the shot on target, let along beating the keeper for a goal.  Hence, the need for a sharpshooter on your team.

So which players have been the best & worst this season at getting the shot on target & ultimately beating the keeper from distance?

Here’s a glossary for the stats we will be considering:

LD Shots:  Low Danger shots

LD Fenwick:  the total number of unblocked Low Danger shots

LD SoT:  Low Danger shots on target

Goals:  oh, glorious goals

Sh Acc:  shot accuracy (on Low Danger shots only)

FenAdj Sh Acc:  shot accuracy that only accounts for unblocked shots (again LD shots only)

Sh%:  the percentage of shots on target that end up beating the goalie for a goal

*Ten Low Danger shots were the minimum to be considered

The Sharpshooters

These are players who are the best this season at getting their shots on target from Low Danger shots.   We are only looking at testing the keeper here, not so much beating the keeper.  You have to get it on target before you can think about scoring.  Players are sorted by their Fenwick Adjusted Shot Accuracy.  You’ll see why when you look what happens to players’ shot accuracy once you subtract blocked shots from the equation.

Player LD Shot LD Fenwick LD SOT Goals Sh Acc FenAdj Sh Acc Sh%
Craig Sibbald, Falkirk 10 7 6 1 0.600 0.857 0.167
Lee Wallace, Rangers 16 10 7 3 0.438 0.700 0.429
Stephen Mallan, St. Mirren 29 27 17 5 0.586 0.630 0.294
Myles Hippolyte, Falkirk 14 13 8 1 0.571 0.615 0.125
James Keatings, Hibs 18 10 6 4 0.333 0.600 0.667

Here is the visual created by our  graphics guru, Mike Driggs.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.55.59 AM

You can see the interactive version of the graph here.

James Keatings, courtesy of Toby Williams

The Clinical Shooters

Getting shots on target is one thing, actually beating the goalie is what separates the good shooter, from the great shooter.

Player LD Shot LD Fenwick LD SOT Goals Sh Acc FenAdj Sh Acc Sh%
James Keatings, Hibs 18 10 6 4 0.333 0.600 0.667
Liam Henderson, Hibs 15 15 4 2 0.267 0.267 0.500
Lee Wallace, Rangers 16 10 7 3 0.438 0.700 0.429
Blair Alston, Falkirk 10 10 3 1 0.300 0.300 0.333
Stephen Mallan, St. Mirren 29 27 17 5 0.586 0.630 0.294
James Tavernier, Rangers 43 33 14 4 0.326 0.424 0.286

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.55.17 AM

Click here for the interactive version of graph.

Liam Henderson

The “Dullshooters”

These are the opposite of the sharpshooters.  These players have the lowest Fenwick adjusted shot accuracy in the league from Low Danger Shots.  Basically, when you shout “shooooot” while watching a match…you may want to refrain from such shouts when these players are on the ball.

This is also where you will see the enigma that is Hibs’ Liam Henderson.  He is a player that somehow is a clinical, dullshooter.  Of his 15 Low Danger shots, only four have tested the keeper….but two of those ended up in the back of the net.  So, yes, Hibs fans should implore Henderson to keep shooting – but they should be prepared to watch the ball go sailing away from goal more often then not.

Player LD Shot LD Fenwick LD SOT Goals Sh Acc FenAdj Sh Acc Sh%
Nathan Oduwa, Rangers 11 9 1 0 0.091 0.111 0.000
Aaron Muirhead, Falkirk 10 7 1 0 0.100 0.143 0.000
Derek Lyle, Queen of the South 11 9 2 0 0.182 0.222 0.000
Liam Henderson, Hibs 15 15 4 2 0.267 0.267 0.500
Barrie McKay, Rangers 12 7 2 0 0.167 0.286 0.000

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.54.24 AM

Click here to peel away the layers on the interactive graph.


For a fun way to spend your Friday night (or any night really) here the interactive graph of the three groups combined.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.53.36 AM

You can follow Mike Driggs on Twitter @RSCPDX & to experience higher definition, interactive versions of graphs like these make sure to visit Mike’s website.

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

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