It is no surprise that some teams have started employing their own set-piece coaches.
Around a third of goals in the English Premier League stem from set-pieces and the stats suggest a similar total in the Scottish Premiership.
But who are soft touches when it comes to set-pieces and who are the dead-ball specialists?
Unfortunately for those of an Aberdeen and Ross County persuasion, it is the Dons and the Staggies who have conceded the most times from set-plays this term.
According to stats provided by Opta, they have both conceded 13 times from set-plays – one more than bottom-of-the-league Dundee.
Interestingly, leaders Celtic have conceded only 19 goals this season, but a whopping 10 of them have come from set-pieces. Food for thought for Malky Mackay’s team ahead of this weekend’s visit of the Hoops to Dingwall?
St Johnstone have endured a tough season and sit second bottom in the dreaded relegation play-off spot.
Despite their troubles, they have the best record this season when it comes to conceding from set-pieces.
Callum Davidson’s men have conceded only four goals from dead-ball opportunities.
Aberdeen and Ross County have conceded the most goals from set-pieces.
At the other end, Rangers are the team who have made the most of free-kicks and corners this season with 15 goals from set-plays.
James Tavernier has the most assists in the top flight this season with 12 and his dead-ball deliveries are making an impact for the Ibrox men.
Hearts and Celtic both have 12 goals from set-plays, while there is no separating Aberdeen and Ross County again – with both netting 11 times.
St Johnstone, who have conceded the fewest goals from set-plays, have also scored the fewest with only four goals during the 2021-22 campaign.
Rangers have scored the most goals from set-pieces this season.
The same two players lead the charts for the most efforts on and off target so far this season.
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, set to miss the rest of the season due to a thigh injury, is top of the leaderboards with 38 shots on target and 37 efforts off target.
Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson is second with 34 shots on target and 35 off target.
Morelos has 11 goals in the top flight this season with Ferguson sitting on nine with five games to go.
Scottish Premiership top scorer Regan Charles-Cook leads the way with 13 goals from his 26 shots on target.
The 25-year-old also possesses the best goals to xG (expected goals) ranking this season with 5.6. St Mirren’s Connor Ronan (4.0), Livingston’s Bruce Anderson (4.0), Hearts left-back Stephen Kingsley (3.2) and Rangers’ Joe Aribo (3.1) have been the most ruthless players in front of goal.
Morelos has been the most wasteful with a goals to xG score of -5.6. Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet is second on -4.8 followed by Hearts forward Liam Boyce -3.8. Celtic’s Liel Abada and Hearts frontman Ellis Simms (both -3-3) have also displayed high levels of profligacy this season.
Most cards this season
David Martindale’s Livingston lead the way for bookings this season.
They have picked up 80 yellow cards so far this season – two more than Ross County.
League leaders Celtic have received the fewest bookings with 40 yellow cards.
Ross County’s Jack Baldwin and Kevin Van Veen of Motherwell are the players who have received most bookings this season. They have both been shown yellow cards on 12 occasions.
Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson has been booked 11 times, followed by Charlie Adam (Dundee), Cameron Devlin (Hearts), Jake Doyle-Hayes (Hibernian) and Jason Holt (Livingston), who are all on 10.
Hibernian top the charts for red cards this season.
They have eight red cards with defender Ryan Porteous the only player in the top flight to see red twice this season, with his most recent dismissal coming in his side’s 3-1 defeat at Aberdeen last month.
Rangers have received only one red card this season with Dundee United, Celtic and Aberdeen all on two.
Hibernian have picked up the most red cards this season.