By Rory West
In follow up to the most recent blog post on the Scottish Premiership’s 5 most under-valued midfielders, this time the focus is on the goalscorers. A vital part to any successful football team is having a striker that has the ability to score every week.
5. Kenny Miller
After Rangers’ promotion back to the top flight of Scottish Football, where they would be looking for goals seemed a high priority for Mark Warburton in the summer. Last season’s top scorer Martyn Waghorn and Kenny Miller weren’t deemed enough and that was probably justified.
Joe Dodoo from Leicester City and Joe Garner from Preston were brought to Ibrox; Garner costing Rangers nearly £2 million. Both of these signings have somewhat back fired with neither of the two managing to find the net as often as Warburton and the Rangers supporters would have hoped. On top of that, Dodoo and Garner have both suffered injuries which has kept them out of action for spells; with Waghorn also spending time on the treatment table.
Waghorn’s form this season hasn’t been impressive at all either; which has left Rangers’ striking option, Kenny Miller; and he has not let them down. Miller has scored eight goals so far this season, but has also provided assists for his side. His goals have also came in vital games for Rangers; including wins over Aberdeen and Hearts.
Miller’s performances for Rangers this season have been some what overlooked. So much so that his current contract is expiring in the summer and Rangers have yet to act on offering him a new one.
4. Louis Moult – Motherwell
Not necessarily under-valued by Motherwell and their supporters but Louis Moult’s quality can somewhat be over looked by others within the game. Since his arrival at Fir Park last season Moult has scored 29 goals in 60 games for ‘Well which is a great return considering where Motherwell have been in the league since he signed.
With veteran striker Scott McDonald – who was unfortunate to miss out on this list himself – developing his game to suit his age and playing in a slightly deeper false nine role, Motherwell were in need of a goal scorer and that’s what they have in Moult.
Motherwell have Moult secured for another 18 months but that will be something come the end of the season that they would like to extend. Moult hasn’t shown any signs of second season syndrome and bids coming in from teams in England either this month or in summer wouldn’t be a surprise.
3. Liam Boyce – Ross County
Again Boyce is in a similar boat to Louis Moult, County fans and supporters appreciate him to the hills but sometimes due to slight injury problems, he can be overlooked as one of the league’s best strikers – which he is.
Since joining County in 2014 Boyce has progressed, adding to his goal tally each season. Last season especially saw Boyce almost hit 20 goals before January, form which would have surely seen him rewarded with a place in Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad. Unfortunately he sustained a bad injury, which resulted in him not making the final 23 man squad.
Injuries have struck Boyce again this year but that hasn’t stopped him in scoring 11 goals in 20 games. Boyce is another one who’s current contract expires at the end of the 2017/18 season. Although if he stays injury free for the remainder of the season and continues to score goals, it would be a surprise to see him in a Ross County shirt next season.
2. Steven MacLean – St Johnstone
Steven MacLean’s St Johnstone career began very stop start with injuries – like the majority of his career – plaguing him of any consistent run of games. Just 13 goals in his first two seasons with the Perth Saints wasn’t the form that the fans or MacLean would be hoping for, yet he found his goal scoring knack again in season 2015/16, beating his past two years tallies in the singular season.
Since then MacLean has been revilatlised and is now one of St Johnstone’s key players. At 34 St Johnstone look a better team when MacLean plays, he shows the ability to not only score goals but create for his teammates. His hold up play and movement show the knowledge of the game he posses.
Similar to Scott McDonald, MacLean has showed intelligence and realised his body can’t perform at the way it could when he was younger, this has meant him playing deeper and trying to feed the ball off to players such as Wotherspoon and Swanson to create attacks.
MacLean is out of contract at the end of the season and there isn’t much word at this point in time whether St Johnstone are planning to offer him an extension. Perhaps MacLean feels this will be his final year, if it is then St Johnstone will be losing a vast amount of experience from their side.
1. Leigh Griffiths – Celtic
This one may sound ridiculous but there is substance to it. Griffiths was the Premiership’s star player last season, firing 40 goals as Celtic won the league, however this season he hasn’t seen as much action as he would have liked.
The arrival of new manager Brendan Rodgers and striker Moussa Dembele has seen Griffiths feature regularly on the bench. From the start of Rodgers’ reign Dembele has been the main striker with Griffiths sometimes pairing him up top but usually he has to resort for a place on the Celtic bench. Dembele has only scored six more goals than Griffiths this season, playing 13 more games than Griffiths.
Leigh Griffiths is still the best striker in Scotland and his passion for playing for Celtic can never be disputed, underlined by his celebrations in New Years Eve’s Old Firm derby despite not making into on the pitch. It seems bizarre to completely drop a striker who has scored 40 goals in relatively in the same league last season however that is the approach that Brendan Rodgers has taken.