2020/21 campaign on course to be lowest scoring Scottish top-flight season EVER

The 12 teams may break an unwanted record set back in the early 90s.

Peter Pawlett cuts a frustrated figure after missing a late chance in Dundee United's 1-0 defeat to Hibs in August. Picture: SNS
Peter Pawlett cuts a frustrated figure after missing a late chance in Dundee United's 1-0 defeat to Hibs in August. Picture: SNS

The 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season is on course to be the lowest scoring top-flight campaign in the history of Scottish football on a goals-per-game basis, The Scotsman can reveal.

While the new term has been mainly notable for the absence of fan attendance as safety measures used to fight the Covid-19 global pandemic has largely forbade it, there has also been a noticeable lack of goalmouth action.

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Celtic and Rangers have played their part with 15 goals each after seven rounds of fixtures (Celtic in just five games), but only Hibs (11) and Kilmarnock (9) have averaged better than a goal per game thus far, while Aberdeen (5) are the only other side not to average fewer than one goal per game.

It has led to an average of 2.18 goals per game which, if it continues for the duration, would be the lowest mark ever in the top tier of Scotland.

The current lowest tally comes from the 1993/94 campaign, where three relegation places in a 12-team league led to a perceived increase in cautious football and a final tally of 2.21 goals per game. The highest tally was all the way back in 1895/96 with an incredible 5.21 per game.

The average number of goals scored in football matches has decreased steadily throughout the decades, though there was significant drop in Scotland after 1975 when the introduction of the Premier Division changed the number of teams from 18 to the smaller divisions we've become accustomed to since. As a result of fewer mismatches with as many as 17 league places separating clubs, there were fewer high-scoring encounters.

Thankfully, there have been several instances of the past of widespread profligacy at this point, only for the average to recover well above the 1993/94 nadir.

The lowest tally after seven matches was back in 1988/89, when we had under two goals per game (1.95). The other seasons which were worse off than this one at a similar stage were in 1986/87 (2.07), 1993/94 (1.98) and 1998/99 (2.06). In each case, the final season average was much higher. For instance, in 1998/99 it went all the way up to 2.62.

Information comes courtesy of @SPLStats.

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