Hearts have started this season in the Scottish Premiership on fire with a very stable and firm foot on the ground. Robbie Neilson and his men are currently second in the table just one point behind the league toppers, Rangers.
In the last five matches, Hearts have won three and are yet to lose a match this season. This scintillating form will give them immense confidence as they face Rangers in their next match, right after the international break.
They boast the joint second-best attack in the division behind Celtic after scoring 14 goals in their first eight matches. Liam Boyce has been in the form of his life scoring six goals, leading the charts for the most goals scored in the league.
Hearts also have the second-best defensive record in the division with just five goals conceded so far and a man who has been effective in both attack and defence, contributing equally is their centre-back Stephen Kingsley. The Scottish international has been pretty solid at the back as well as is the second-highest goal scorer in the squad.
We look at his stats from the season.
Kingsley has appeared in five matches so far, sometimes as a left-sided centre-back and other times as the left wing-back in the 3-4-3 system deployed. He has covered a lot of ground, almost the entirety of the left flank on the pitch – from one corner flag to the opposite one as a result of his high work rate. The 27-year-old has spent the majority of his time on the left side of the pitch in the defensive third – the red and orange areas in the above viz, while also venturing further up the pitch and spending a considerable amount of time in the opposition half near the midfield providing width.
He has been really comfortable on the ball playing a lot of passes and to a lot of areas on the pitch- showcasing his wide range of passing. Kingsley has completed a total of 216 passes with an accuracy of 73%, averaging 45 passes per 90 along with 65 touches on the ball. The majority of his passes have been near the left flank in the opposition half, with an attacking mindset played in forward progression. He has played a lot of cross-field long balls to change the direction of the play while also playing a lot of over of the top balls to find the forwards directly in the box. The Scot has also delivered a lot of threatening early crosses into the box with xT as high as 0.3240 at times.
He has taken all four of his shots from outside the box, scoring two goals yet averaging a goal every 216 minutes. Both of his shots have been from his stronger left foot, while he has not attempted a lot of shots, he has been really clinical with a shot accuracy of 60% even from such a long distance. Kingsley has scored the second-most goals for Hearts in the league.
As effective as he has been in attack, Kingsley has been equally solid in defence as well. Engaging in a total of 39 duels, he has registered a success rate of 62%. Most of his successful duels have been in the defensive third. Though not a very tall player, Kingsley has won the majority of his aerial duels with a success rate of 67%. He also has blocked four opposition attempts while clearing away danger 10 times. The 27-year-old is yet to get booked and has committed only one foul so far.
Hearts have been one of the biggest revelations in Scottish football this season, their upcoming match against Rangers is going to be one of the most important of this season. If they want to win the match and overtake Rangers at the top, Kingsley will have to play a huge role in it.