Key pass analysis: attacking midfielders Hibernian, Aberdeen, St. Johnstone & Livingston

The Scottish Premiership is such an exciting league. Scottish football in it’s entirety is very interesting to look at and don’t get fooled by the idea that it is only high balls and yellow cards. It’s also so much more than just the Old Firm – much more. I’ve wanted to look at multiple clubs in the highest Scottish division for a while now and I’m doing that with this article.

In this article I will analyse the key passing stats of the clubs in the Championship group of the Scottish Premiership. I will look at Hibernian, Aberdeen, St. Johnstone and Livingston. I’m excluding Celtic and Rangers, because there has been written a lot already about them and they get more attention anyway.

I will use Wyscout data and video to assess how well four attacking midfielders from those four clubs, performed in the 2020-2021 season. In the end I will use video to look at some of their through passes in this season.

I have choses four attacking midfielders from those four clubs: Wotherspoon, Murphy, Pittman and McGinn. In the scatterplot below you can see how well they perform in the progressive passes per 90 vs passes to final third per 90 metrics.

If we look at the progressive passes per 90, we see that Pittman has 2,63 progressive passes per 90, McGinn has 3,97 progressive passes per 90, Murphy has 5,42 progressive passes per 90 and Wotherspoon has 6,61 progressive passes per 90 in the 2020-2021 season in the Scottish Premiership.

When we look at the passes to the final third per 90, we see that McGinn has 1,65 passes to final third per 90, Pittman has 2,65 passes to final third per 90, Murphy has 4,97 passes to final third per 90 and Wotherspoon has 5,33 passes to final third per 90.

In the scatterplot above we see the metrics key passes per 90 and through passes per 90 combined. By looking at these number we are looking at how decisive these players are in creating goalscoring opportunites or progressing the game with their passes in the middle/attacking third of the pitch.

If we look at the key passes per 90, we see that Pittman has 0,32 key passes per 90, McGinn has 0,91 key passes per 90, Murphy has 0,45 key passes per 90 and Wotherspoon has 0,53 key passes per 90 in the 2020-2021 season in the Scottish Premiership.

When we look at the through passes per 90, we see that McGinn has 0,25 through passes per 90, Pittman has 0,48 through passes per 90, Murphy has 1,58 through passes per 90 and Wotherspoon has 0,85 through passes to per 90.

Jamie Murphy – Hibernian FC

In the image above you Jamier Murphy from Hibernian FC, compared to attacking midfielders in the 2020-2021 Scottish Premiership. This shows us the rank of his key passing data compared to his peers. He scores very high on the passes to final third, passes to penalty area, and through passes. When we look at key passes, assists and deep completions, he doesn’t do very well, however.

This can also be seen in the beeswarmplot below. This visual shows us the same information, but the visual is slightly different as it visually shows us where the players are in terms of the metric and shows us how far ahead Murphy actually is. Or isn’t.

In the two graphs below I’m taking a closer look at the last 6 games of Murphy in the Scottish Premiership and give a visualisation of where his final third passes have been made and where he moved during the game, were conducted. This gives us an idea of the area which he plays in and creates.

In the image above you can see the heat maps of Murphy in his last 6 games for Hibernian. These heat maps have been made showing the pass locations of Murphy in those specific game, and you can see that he loves to operate in the middle of the pitch and on the left wide midfield.

In the image above we can see the final third passes of Murphy. The yellow arrows indicate successful passes, while the orange arrows indicate unsuccessful passes. This shows us the passes that have the final third as begin location and not necessarily the end location.

In the video’s below you see three examples of the through passes Murphy as attempted in this season. This shows his passing quality and ability, in the way that he can set an attacker in a good position to create something positive in front of goal.

Nial McGinn – Aberdeen

In the image above you Niall McGinn from Aberdeen, compared to attacking midfielders in the 2020-2021 Scottish Premiership. This shows us the rank of his key passing data compared to his peers. He scores very high on the key passes and expected assists. When we look at deep completions, passes to final third and through passes, he does badly.

This can also be seen in the beeswarmplot below. This visual shows us the same information, but the visual is slightly different as it visually shows us where the players are in terms of the metric and shows us how far ahead McGinn actually is. Or isn’t.

In the two graphs below I’m taking a closer look at the last 6 games of McGinn in the Scottish Premiership and give a visualisation of where his final third passes have been made and where he moved during the game, were conducted. This gives us an idea of the area which he plays in and creates.

In the image above you can see the heat maps of McGinn in his last 6 games for Aberdeen. These heat maps have been made showing the pass locations of Aberdeen in those specific game, and you can see that he loves to operate in the middle of the pitch.

In the image above we can see the final third passes of McGinn. The yellow arrows indicate successful passes, while the orange arrows indicate unsuccessful passes. This shows us the passes that have the final third as begin location and not necessarily the end location.

In the video’s below you see three examples of the through passes McGinn as attempted in this season. This shows his passing quality and ability, in the way that he can set an attacker in a good position to create something positive in front of goal.

Wotherspoon – St. Johnstone

In the image above you David Wotherspoon from St. Johnstone, compared to attacking midfielders in the 2020-2021 Scottish Premiership. This shows us the rank of his key passing data compared to his peers. What stands out is that he does very decent in all of the metrics, but excels in the passes to final third and progressive passes metrics.

This can also be seen in the beeswarmplot below. This visual shows us the same information, but the visual is slightly different as it visually shows us where the players are in terms of the metric and shows us how far ahead Wotherspoon actually is. Or isn’t.

In the two graphs below I’m taking a closer look at the last 6 games of Wotherspoon in the Scottish Premiership and give a visualisation of where his final third passes have been made and where he moved during the game, were conducted. This gives us an idea of the area which he plays in and creates.

In the image above you can see the heat maps of Wotherspoon in his last 6 games for St. Johnstone. These heat maps have been made showing the pass locations of St. Johnstone in those specific game, and you can see that he loves to operate in the middle of the pitch and on the left wide midfield.

In the image above we can see the final third passes of Wotherspoon. The yellow arrows indicate successful passes, while the orange arrows indicate unsuccessful passes. This shows us the passes that have the final third as begin location and not necessarily the end location.

In the video’s below you see three examples of the through passes Wotherspoon as attempted in this season. This shows his passing quality and ability, in the way that he can set an attacker in a good position to create something positive in front of goal.

Scott Pittmann – Livingston

In the image above you Scott Pittman from Livingston, compared to attacking midfielders in the 2020-2021 Scottish Premiership. This shows us the rank of his key passing data compared to his peers. What stands out is that he does badly in all of the metrics.

This can also be seen in the beeswarmplot below. This visual shows us the same information, but the visual is slightly different as it visually shows us where the players are in terms of the metric and shows us how far ahead Pittman actually is. Or isn’t.

In the two graphs below I’m taking a closer look at the last 6 games of Pittman in the Scottish Premiership and give a visualisation of where his final third passes have been made and where he moved during the game, were conducted. This gives us an idea of the area which he plays in and creates.

In the image above you can see the heat maps of Pittman in his last 6 games for Livingston. These heat maps have been made showing the pass locations of Livingston in those specific game, and you can see that he loves to operate in the middle of the pitch and on the left wide midfield.

In the image above we can see the final third passes of Pittman. The yellow arrows indicate successful passes, while the orange arrows indicate unsuccessful passes. This shows us the passes that have the final third as begin location and not necessarily the end location.

In the video’s below you see three examples of the through passes Pittman as attempted in this season. This shows his passing quality and ability, in the way that he can set an attacker in a good position to create something positive in front of goal.

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