Aberdeen and Motherwell in a slow race to be best of the rest in Scottish Premiership

Aberdeen and Motherwell are in joint third place but have been in poor form
Aberdeen and Motherwell have been struggling for form in 2020

Over the course of their last five Scottish Premiership games Aberdeen and Motherwell have each managed just one win.

They remain locked on points a long way behind Celtic and Rangers but still enjoy a healthy lead on the rest.

With neither side looking particularly impressive of late, could this be the lowest points tally in recent memory for a third-placed side?

BBC Scotland takes a look at the numbers and digs through the old annuals to find out.

A historical low... so far

When we compare this season's yield of 41 points from 26 games to the last 10 seasons of top-flight football we find that it compares relatively poorly.

Only one season - the 2012-13 campaign in which Inverness Caley Thistle occupied the spot - had a side with fewer points than Motherwell or Aberdeen at this stage.

Similarly, the average for those 10 seasons has the third place team on just under 47 points, while the average for the last five seasons has the points tally even higher at 48 points.

So, the sides managed by Stephen Robinson and Derek McInnes are more than two wins off the pace usually set by the third best team in the country at this point in the calendar.

A lower bar to Europa League entry

Without a great deal of pressure from the teams behind, it still looks like a straight fight between the Dons and 'Well.

As things stand, both clubs are set to finish on 60 points after 38 games. That would be seven less than Kilmarnock achieved last season and a massive 10 less than Rangers a year earlier.

In fact, it would be the poorest finish for a third-placed side since the 2012-13 season, when St Johnstone clinched a Europa League spot with 56 points.

However, there's no guarantee that either side will reach that 60-point mark since the projection is based on average results to date and doesn't take into account the post-split games when the degree of difficulty would be expected to rise.

Aberdeen can take heart from a recent history of strong performances over the final stretch, having managed three wins from the final five matches in each of the past three seasons.

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport