The Liam Scales situation in data and how he compares to Maik Nawrocki

The Liam Scales situation in data…

13th October 2023 Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland International Football Group B Euro 2024 Qualifier, Republic of Ireland versus Greece Liam Scales  after the full time whistle . Photo ActionPlus Peter Fitzpatrick

One year ago today, Liam Scales, who had been rewarded with an Ireland call up after some impressive performances for Aberdeen, watched on from the bench as Ireland limped to a 1-0 victory over Malta.

Fast-forward 12 months and not only has the Wicklow native broke into the starting eleven at Celtic, he has also started the last three games for his country.

The 25-year-old has played in some of the biggest stadiums on the continent this season, the Wanda Metropolitano and the Amsterdam Arena to name a few, and has handled such intimidating, high pressure atmospheres as if he had done it all before.

Feyenoord’s Luka Ivanusec vies with Celtic’s Liam Scales during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Feyenoord and Celtic FC at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on September 19, 2023. (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Brendan Rodgers described Scales as “one of the biggest surprises of my career”, also revealing last week that the player could be in line for a new contract at the club.

Some have questioned the longevity of the Irishman’s brilliant form, and if £4.3-million summer signing Maik Nawrocki should replace Scales in the starting lineup when he is fully fit.

But how do both Celtic players match up when compared using data?

According to Football Stats, Tables & Results | Soccer Stats – FootyStats, Scales ranks in the 99th percentile in multiple facets of his game this season, such as goals conceded, clean sheets, aerial duels won and penalties given away.

The two major statistical outliers in terms of his performance data this season is in tackles made and times he has been dribbled past. This matches up with general opinion of where Scales’s weaknesses lie, his aggressiveness in his tackling and his general lack of speed.

Maik Nawrocki  during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie on 13 August 2023. Photo Stephen Dobson PSI

Having made just two appearances for Celtic this season, using Nawrocki’s performance data in a Celtic shirt would be illogical and inaccurate. So, when comparing Scales’s performance data this season to Nawrocki’s last season, there are some interesting crossovers.

Unsurprisingly considering the lack of a single dominant team and the much more competitive nature of the Polish league, Nawrocki ranks in the 52nd and 59th percentile respectively for goals conceded and clean sheets.

His performance data is quite average across the board, with Scales comfortably performing to higher percentile’s in almost all aspects of his game, albeit from a much smaller pool of performance data.

20th August 2023; Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, Scotland: Scottish Viaplay Cup Football, Kilmarnock versus Celtic; Liam Scales of Celtic, Gustaf Lagerbielke of Celtic and Maik Nawrocki of Celtic

However, Nawrocki ranks in the 83th percentile in times dribbled past, compared to Scales who ranks in the 61st percentile. One of the Irish international’s major weaknesses in his game is his pace, an attribute Nawrocki does not fall down upon.

Scales has been brilliant this season and notions that his form is merely a purple patch are ignorant and misinformed. The ball playing centre half has weakness in his game, in particular his aggressiveness and pace, which are both attributes that Nawrocki probably trumps him in.

Liam Scales is a Celtic quality player and is as trustworthy as any at the current time. But for the long term, Maik Nawrocki is the heir to the throne Liam Scales has brilliantly held for the past three months.

James French

READ THIS…Forgotten photographs from Celtic Park and Barrowfields (Photos 1-50)

Click on image above to order a hardback copy of Majic, Stan and the King of Japan which will be personally signed by the author.
Click on the image above to order the Amazon Kindle version which comes will all the brilliant photos from that season which appear in th hardback version of the book.

About Author

1 Comment

  1. Nawrocki has 3 appearances for Celtic this season and not 2 as the article claims.

    Ross County league at home won 4-2
    Aberdeen league away won 3-1
    Kilmarnock league cup away lost 1-0

    In three domestic games, Celtic shipped four goals with Nawrocki starting.

    In the 11 domestic games since then (when Scales) came in, we have shipped just four goals in 11 games.

    Obviously there are other factors and sample size is small but interesting none the less.