SPL Supersubs 2011/12

Image courtesy of The Scotsman.

 

Substitutes were introduced to Scottish football in the 1966/67 season – Archie Gemmell was the first sub to come on in a first class Scottish game when he came on for St Mirren in a League Cup game against Clyde.  Since then, the role of the substitute has become an important one – bringing a fresh pair of legs to the team, or allowing a manager to make tactical adjustments.

SPL clubs can now name 7 subs in a matchday squad, thus giving the managers a variety of options on the bench.  Some managers use their subs more often than others – Hearts have used all 3 subs in every single SPL game so far this season, while Motherwell have only used 58% of their available subs (1.74 per game).

The biggest impact a sub can make is to score a goal after being introduced from the bench.  The table on the right shows which clubs have been most successful in this respect.  We can see that Dundee United’s substitutes have scored more goals than those from any other club, with 8 goals coming from 6 different players.

Dunfermline have seen the largest percentage of their goals scored by substitutes – over a fifth of their goals have been scored by men brought off the bench.  Does this suggest that Jim McIntyre was good at reading the game and deciding who to bring on, or does it mean that he got the team selections wrong in the first place?  His sacking suggests that the board felt it was the latter.

At the other end of the scale, Inverness, St Johnstone and St Mirren have only managed 1 goal each from a substitute this season.  St Johnstone’s record works out as the poorest as a percentage because they have scored more goals than either Inverness or St Mirren.  These three clubs are all in the bottom 4 in terms of total players used in the SPL this season (along with Dundee United, bizarrely), so the low figures could be down to them having a fairly settled team for most of the season.

In terms of individual players, Dunfermline’s Liam Buchanan leads the way with 3 goals from the bench.  There are a further five players who have scored 2 goals as substitutes – James Forrest, Gary Mackay-Steven, Johnny Russell, Rudi Skacel and Suso Santana.  Johnny Russell is the only player who has scored twice in the same match after coming on as a sub – he replaced Willo Flood away to Inverness in December with Dundee United 2-0 down, and netted a double as they came back to win 3-2.

The players who have scored as substitutes for each team are listed below:

Aberdeen – Chalali, Fallon
Celtic – Forrest (2), Hooper, Ki, McGeouch
Dundee Utd – Mackay-Steven (2), Russell (2), Dalla Valle, Daly, Lacny, Swanson
Dunfermline – Buchanan (3), Burns, Cardle, Kirk, R. Thomson.
Hearts – Skacel (2), Suso (2)
Hibs – Griffiths, O’Connor
Inverness – A. Shinnie
Kilmarnock – Dayton, Racchi
Motherwell – Humphrey, McHugh
Rangers – Aluko, Jelavic, Kerkar, Little, Lafferty
St Johnstone – Haber
St Mirren – Hasselbaink

Info courtesy of Statbunker and Soccerbase.
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About SPLstats
Providing statistics and trivia about Scottish football. Main focus is the SPL, but all Scottish football will be covered. Not affiliated to the SPL.

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