What the stats tell us about the 2017/18 Ladbrokes Premiership season

Now the 2017/2018 Ladbrokes Premiership campaign is over and all the awards have been handed out, individual and collective, we can take stock of the season.

Read More

Read More
Why season 2017/2018 reaffirmed Scottish football as the best

We know Celtic won the league, Kris Boyd found the back of the net more times than anyone else and Partick Thistle and Ross County were so poor they’ve been banished, but what can the stats tell us?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Using data provided by Wyscout, which Sky Sports says “offers comprehensive video coverage and detailed statistical analysis of thousands of players… worldwide”, we can find out a bit more about the past season.

Scott Brown made the most passes of any player in the league. Picture: SNS

Unsurprisingly Celtic dominated possession with a 61.3 per cent of the ball, playing 23,294 passes, seven thousand more than the team with the second most, Rangers. Hamilton played the fewest (10,817).

Scott Brown was the fulcrum of the Celtic side, everything went through him. He played 2,609 passes - 75.6 per 90 minutes - with a staggering 93.41 per cent accuracy.

Kilmarnock’s renaissance under Steve Clarke was largely achieved with structure and organisation rather than possession. Killie recorded the lowest average share of possession with 43.6 per cent.

But with Boyd in attack they were efficient with the ball, hitting the target with 38.6 per cent of their attempts, more than anyone else.

Despite hitting 190 fewer shots than rivals Celtic, Rangers scored the most goals (76) but also hit the woodwork 18 times, six more than any other team. Josh Windass and Alfredo Morelos amounted for eight of those.

A stream of chances came from the flanks for the Ibrox side. Only Motherwell topped Rangers’ 768 crosses with 67 per cent coming from the right flank. That will be of little surprise to anyone who has watched Rangers this season. Daniel Candeias and James Tavernier are the two most prolific crossers in the league with 427 between them.

What is impressive about Motherwell (772 crosses) and Rangers is that they both feature in the top four for accuracy, finding a target around a third of the time.

Motherwell have had a great season under Stephen Robinson. Aside from the two cup finals the club have found an identity. The team have went from being one of the oldest last season (average age 28.2) to the youngest (24.9).

St Johnstone, for the third year running, had the oldest average squad (28). But that was down on the previous two seasons as Tommy Wright looks to freshen things up.

Going back to the Steelmen, they are no longer a soft touch. Last season they conceded 69 goals. That has dropped to 49. Robinson has changed system and recruited well, and with it they have a more competitive approach. They topped the league for fouls (599), interceptions (1,961) and aerial duels (2,912).

But no team is more aggressive than Hamilton Academical with managers tripping over themselves to note how difficult Accies make it for opposition teams, especially at the SuperSeal Stadium. No team had more defensive duels (2,855), yellow cards (90) and red cards (8).

Hibs boss Neil Lennon slammed Hamilton’s “caveman” tactics after the teams drew 1-1 at the SuperSeal. The Northern Irishman asked for more protection for his players. He may have had a point as Hibs suffered the most fouls (531) in the league.

John McGinn was on the end of 109 of those - 36 more than anyone else. The midfielder could handle himself as well. His 15 bookings was matched by Graeme Shinnie’s. McGinn made the third most fouls (72) behind Carl McHugh (74) and Alfredo Morelos (81).

There were few strikers more involved that Morelos. Not only was he the second top goalscorer he had the most touches in the box, and only team-mate Windass (99) hit more shots than the Colombian’s 97, while Simon Murray (38) was the only player offside more than Morelos (33).

Rangers had no problem creating chances and scoring goals. The complete opposite to Partick Thistle. No team scored fewer (31) or had fewer shots (335) than the Jags. They may have hit the target with a higher percentage than ten other clubs but were found wanting in front of goal.

Although, arguably, the most profligate side were Dundee. Using the expected goals metric - the probability that a chance is scored - Neil McCann’s men should have hit the net 53 times which would have had them as the division’s fifth highest scorers. Instead, they scored 36 goals - only Thistle scored fewer.

Both relegated sides, Thistle (2,143) and Ross County (2,127), lost the ball more than another team. Although they were followed by Aberdeen (2,117).

That could be explained by the fact those three sides featured in the top five for longer, and therefore riskier, passes. Aberdeen (2,235) played nearly 1,000 more long passes than Celtic (1,272).

Despite the notion that Hearts under Craig Levein are a long ball team, the Gorgie side played the second fewest (1,831).

However, Hearts weren’t the most exciting team to watch. They played the fewest passes into the final third (2,105), while due to the lack of width crossed the ball the least (449). Only Hamilton (371) had fewer touches in the opposition box to Hearts (417) - Celtic had more than twice the amount (891).

St Johnstone’s Joe Shaughnessy played the most minutes in the league (3,593). Surprisingly only one goalkeeper featured in the top 20: Kilmarnock’s Jamie MacDonald (3,304).

Shaughnessy featured in the top 30 for aerial duel success. His 63.47 per cent was well below Bruno Alves, who topped the list by winning more than 79 per cent of his contests in the air.

However the Rangers centre-back wasn’t much of a danger in the opposition box. Boyd (30) and Morelos (25) had the most headed efforts. Behind the striking duo were Paul Hanlon (21) and Andrew Considine (15).