Scottish Premiership: Stewart, Rogic, Tavernier - who is the most creative?

Greg Stewart
Can Greg Stewart replicate his form with Aberdeen in the second half of the campaign?

Who has been the most creative player in the Scottish Premiership this season?

How do you even measure such a thing? You could look at assists, but that does not take into account how clinical a player's team-mates are.

How about key passes, then? That removes the need for a striker to convert the chances being created. Or maybe it's just a case of looking at crosses into the box?

With the second half of the campaign now under way, BBC Scotland has waded through all those numbers for the opening 20-odd games in 2018 and has discovered some surprising results...

Stewart leads way in assists

Let's start with the most obvious measure - assists. If we rank every player who has played at least 945 minutes (half the season), the top of the list is, predictably, dominated by players from clubs at the upper end of the table.

Former Kilmarnock attacker Greg Stewart leads the way with 0.38 assists per 90 minutes, and is joined in the top 10 by four Celtic players, two from Rangers, former Rugby Park team-mate Chris Burke, Hearts' Callumn Morrison and new Aberdeen colleague Niall McGinn.

Little wonder, then, that the switch made by 28-year-old Stewart from Kilmarnock to Pittodrie caused such consternation.

One club notably absent from the top 10 is Hibernian. Despite head coach Neil Lennon's tendency to play attacking football, none of his players have been particularly creative in the first half of the campaign. The recruitment of Ryan Gauld and, potentially, Scott Allan this month are designed to address that failing.

Creating without reward

As we mentioned earlier, any player's assist count is entirely dependent on the finishing of his team-mates. The more effective a team's strikers, the more assists a creator will have.

But if we look at key passes - those that immediately lead to a shot or goalscoring chance - a few new names break into the top 10.

The likes of Stewart, Celtic duo Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard, and Rangers' James Tavernier all feature again, but they are joined by Hibs' Martin Boyle, Drew Wright of St Johnstone and Motherwell's Chris Cadden.

McGinn shines in wide areas

How about we look at a more traditional measure, crosses.

In terms of frequency, Hearts youngster Morrison features again, as does former Dundee loanee Calvin Miller and Daryl Horgan of Hibs, when it comes to deliveries from wide per 90 minutes.

And if we did a little deeper to look at those with the most accurate centres, Aberdeen's McGinn tops the rankings with 45.58% of his deliveries finding a target, followed by Tavernier (40.17%) and Boyle (39.19%).

What about Jones? And Mackay-Steven?

One surprising exception is Kilmarnock's Rangers-bound winger Jordan Jones, who not only fails to get in to the top 10 for assists or key passes, but also fails to match up with the league's most productive wide players when it comes to crosses.

Similarly, manager Derek McInnes often refers to Gary Mackay-Steven as one of Aberdeen's most important players, but the 28-year-old is nowhere to be seen on the assist or key passes charts and is only averaging 4.06 crosses per 90 minutes with a rather underwhelming accuracy of 27.8%.

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