RANGERS are sitting comfortably at the top of the Scottish Premiership, despite not yet hitting anywhere near the heights of which they are capable.

Whether you cast that as the sign of a winning team, or draw concern from an array of below-par performances depends on your optimism levels – but it’s indisputable that this is not Steven Gerrard’s side at their best.

The start of this season has been majorly disrupted in terms of squad availability and only now are supporters beginning to see full-strength teams week upon week.

But of the players who have played plenty of matches so far, what do the numbers say?

James Tavernier and Connor Goldson were almost untouchable in the Premiership last season, conceding just 13 goals as a defence and making significant offensive contributions.

Alfredo Morelos didn’t hit the heights of 2019 in a numerical sense in 20/21, but the evolution and adaptation of his game helped his team to get better – a few vital goals were scored for good measure.

Although using only a small sample size, looking at the underlying numbers and metrics from the season so far can help contextualise what fans are seeing on the pitch.

With that said, let’s look at how the three aforementioned player’s 21/22 StatsBomb radars compare to 20/21 from the Scottish Premiership alone.

How to read radars 

Radars are an excellent way to visualise a player's statistical output.

As StatsBomb explain: 

-  The radar boundaries represent the top and bottom 5% of all statistical production by players in that position across various seasons of data from the top five European leagues: Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

- All of the relevant data points and metrics on our radars are calculated on a per-90-minute basis

- We also adjust a number of the defensive metrics to account for the amount of possession the player's team has

- It’s worth noting that not all of the data points and metrics included on the radars measure the quality of the player or their output

Alfredo Morelos

Rangers Review:

Morelos didn’t have his best numbers season last term, but the Colombian’s evolution from an out-and-out goalscorer to a more rounded individual has benefited Rangers.

His role has changed significantly from the all-action frontman in 2019 to the intelligent creator on display at Dens Park last weekend.

READ MORE: Alfredo Morelos' Rangers tactical evolution analysed

Take his assists against Dundee and Ross County as examples, against deep defences it is often Morelos that has to play the support role to a midfielder, creating space only he can as the centre-forward.

Despite taking slightly more shots on average, Morelos’ xG and xG/shot metrics are considerably down on last season’s totals.

Why is this? Perhaps he is suffering from the front three not quite clicking this season, missing the final touch that a Ianis Hagi brings or the ability to stretch play a fully fit Ryan Kent provides.

Interestingly his touches in the box remain similar despite this, and his pressure regains are slightly higher.

It may be in the coming weeks against the likes of Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen that supporters start to see Morelos increasingly in goalscoring positions.

Connor Goldson

Rangers Review:

The defender had a poor afternoon at Dens Park and has split opinion this season, a situation exacerbated by the fact he has not yet committed his future to Rangers.

On the eye, Goldson hasn’t looked as imperious as he did last term, but that could be explained by the overall function of the team.

As The Rangers Review explained this week, the team’s vulnerability to long balls is in large part being caused by a lack of pressure and protection from the front.

READ MORE: Rangers' long ball vulnerability and the aggression drop that's causing it - analysis

Goldson’s radar suggests that criticism of his individual output this season may be slightly premature.

Interceptions aside, probably explained by the side’s lack of cohesion and Goldson’s subsequent responsibility to put out fires, he is lagging just behind last season’s average on pressures, xGBuildup and tackles.

A drop in his ariel win% is notable as is the number of tackles he is making when players attempt to dribble past him.

James Tavernier

Rangers Review:

Tavernier started the season fantastically against Livingston and following his game-winning wondergoal against St Johnstone, Steven Gerrard called on people to "respect" that Tavernier was the best full-back in the country. But he hasn’t quite got going in other matches this season.

Tavernier is making more interceptions but fewer tackles per/90 and his pressure numbers are down in keeping with the overall trend of the team.

His deep progression and xGBuildup numbers remain predictably high given the responsibility he is given from box-to-box and in distribution.

A drop in the number of dribbles is perhaps explained by the team creating fewer attacking opportunities.

Like Goldson, his Tack/Dribbled Past% numbers are down, defined as: "Percentage of time a player makes a tackle when going into a duel vs getting dribbled past."

Rangers’ captain has been overwhelmingly consistent for his team every since Gerrard took over, and could argue his case as the team’s best player in two of the last three seasons.

In that regard, periods where he is not at the forefront of everything his side do are to be expected. But when a generational talent is waiting in the wings to snap up every opportunity given to him, the influence of Tavernier in-game must remain high.