Does this stat highlight Hibs' struggles this season?

At times last season, especially in the second half of the campaign, Hibs were rampant.

It seemed the only way to stop Neil Lennon’s men was to foul them, whether it was hacking down John McGinn, obstructing Dylan McGeouch or doing whatever possible to prevent Martin Boyle speeding away.

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Hibs were the most fouled team in the 2017-2018 Scottish Premiership. The Easter Road side were thwarted illegally 531 times, an average of 13.3 per 90 minutes.

Jamie MacLaren was fouled by Kilmarnock's Kirk Broadfoot for a penalty earlier in the season. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey

It is not a surprise considering the dynamism and pace which coursed through the team, making them one of the most exciting sides to watch and perhaps the most devastating on the counter-attack.

No team had more than the Easter Road side’s six players in the top 30 most fouled. McGinn topped the charts with an extraordinary 109 fouls - second place was 73.

Three team-mates, Martin Boyle, Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley, were in the top 13, with Scott Allan and Florian Kamberi making up the Hibs representatives.

There has been a drastic drop off this term. Hibs have gone from being the most fouled team in Scotland’s top-flight to the least.

They have been fouled 188 times, an average of 8.43 per 90 minutes - the same as relegated Partick Thistle last season.

Only one player is in the top 30 for most fouled - Martin Boyle in 27th.

It provides a semblance of insight as to why the team have had their struggles in recent months. The tempo they played at has slowed, unable to transition as quickly as they did last season which forced opponents into tactical or desperate fouls.

And, of course, missing the presence of McGinn has been a significant bearing. The midfielder was so adept at earning his side free-kicks, albeit he was often left frustrated by cynical fouls from the opposition who knew the danger he possessed when driving forward.

The departure of Brandon Barker and Martin Boyle not playing as regularly as a winger or wing-back has removed that dribbling threat on the wing with both players capable of committing defenders and putting them into awkward situations.

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