Analysis: Stevie Mallan's nine goals outside the box for Hibs

Stevie Mallan has scored nine times for Hibs since joining in the summer, all of which have arrived from outside the box. Joel Sked looks back at each goal.

Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 12:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 9:27 am
Stevie Mallan scores from outside the box against Hamilton.

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There will certainly be an argument that Mallan's debut goal for the club could well be his worst.

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Winning 3-0 in the first-half against the Faroese opponents, Mallan led the defence a merry dance to create a shooting opportunity.

He struck the ball tamely between a defender's legs and his body language suggested it was not one of his better efforts. Only, Tordur Thomsen in the Runavik goal had other ideas and allowed the ball to slip under his hands.

In the same game Mallan gave fans a taste of his free-kick ability. Just a taste.

With Danny Swanson fouled more than 25 yards from goal his team-mate stepped up for what seemed an ambitious effort.

Mallan, with a technique not too dissimilar to David Beckham, zinged the free-kick into the air and down towards the top corner with a real zip.

The four-man wall were inconsequential, although Thomsen, again, did not help himself. He got across to the effort but was unable to keep it out despite getting two hands to the ball.

As Hibs fans would come to see, Mallan has a real variety with his free-kicks in terms of how he uses the wall or where he places the ball.

More than 25 yards from goal, but in a more central position, goalkeeper Eli Joensen was covering the right-hand side of the goal as Mallan looked.

Central free-kicks can be awkward for some players. For others it simply gives them more options. This is certainly the case with Mallan.

The 22-year-old approaches free-kicks the same way a gunslinger would for a duel in the Wild West. A mental battle with the goalkeeper as he waits for the first move before shooting.

In this instance Mallan seemed set on going to the goalkeeper's side. The free-kick was struck so well, with Joensen not helping his cause by moving forward, that the ball curled all the way into the net without the goalkeeper getting near it.

With a quick turnover of possession, Mallan had room to motor into towards goal but, spotting the goalkeeper off his line, he had only one thought.

A quick touch out of his feet, he hit the ball in a way that it would rise up then dip back down quickly.

However, it appeared to take a slight deflection on its way into the net, with the ball spinning through the air. Mallan was aided by the fact the Runavik goalkeeper was almost sitting down by the time it had hit the net.

It was Mallan who got Hibs' domestic season up and running. He won the the free-kick after his volley was blocked by the outstretched arm of Motherwell captain peter Hartley.

The defender had clearly not thought about the danger the Hibs midfielder posed around the box. He was soon taught a valuable lesson.

Free-kicks on the edge of the box can prove tricky for players to get it up and down over the wall with the necessary pace to beat the goalkeeper. Yet Mallan, as he continues to show, is shrewd at using the wall or opponents, if in open play, to his advantage.

The default free-kick would have been a simple up and over. And that's what Trevor Carson expected when he made a fatal movement to his right. Mallan went left.

The wall is there to act as a shield for the goalkeeper. Mallan simply stole the shield and zipped a low shot into the far corner.

Low free-kicks are underestimated, especially with someone as good at striking a ball as Mallan. Rather than use his laces or strike the ball high up the side of his right-foot, he opted for a very powerful side foot, giving him that control to guide it into the corner.

Losing to the Championship side at Easter Road it was Mallan who kept the move alive for the crucial equaliser. Boyle had been dispossessed but his team-mate nipped in to retain possession.

He followed his pass across the pitch and got the ball back from Stevenson. Once the he had moved forward his sights were set. Using former Hearts midfielder Don Cowie as that shield he let fly from 25 yards.

County's goalkeeper Fox had left a large area to his right unattended. A foolish act when Mallan is on the pitch. Cowie blocked the goalkeeper's view of what was transpiring and the Hibs player cut across the ball, putting his laces through it, while keeping the shot controlled as it nestled into the bottom right-hand side of the goal.

"Once again! Mallan the marvellous marksman," was the cry from BBC commentator John Barnes, as he put Hibs in front against Kilmarnock to begin the club's run of four successive league wins with a fantastic free-kick.

Following a foul on Martin Boyle on the right hand side of the box, more than 25 yards out, the location would be more suited to a left-footed player shooting. Such an individual would be hitting the ball over the wall and away from Jamie MacDonald.

Yet, there were two key aspects of the goal. First of all, the eyes and body shape. Mallan set up as if he was going to bend it up and over the wall into the area which MacDonald had left largely vacant.

The Killie goalkeeper, crouched down to get a better view, anticipated such and took two movements to his left. This is where the second aspect came into play. Mallan contorted his body, whipping the ball to the goalkeeper's 'side' with real bend and venom.

His technique was excellent, bringing his shooting boot back down to the ground quickly after striking the ball. MacDonald was helpless, the two movements he made previously killing any chance he had of keeping the ball out.

Doubling the lead against Hamilton, this goal owed much to Mallan's awareness as it did the actual execution. As Hibs did all game, they moved their opponents from left to right and vice versa, probing and penetrating.

Porteous picked out the forward-moving Lewis Stevenson. As the left-back advanced Mallan was being tracked by former Hibee Scott Martin. However, as his opponent followed the movement of the ball into his own box, Mallan stopped.

Doing so gave him an abundance of space outside the box. So when the ball came back to him via Flo Kamberi he was able to take a touch, set himself and let fly. His aim was to cut across it back towards the near post in an attempt to deceive goalkeeper Gary Woods.

However, the deflection off Shaun Want took it towards Woods who was unable to keep the ball out, throwing a very soft hand at the effort.

There was little need for Mallan to work to find space for his second against Accies. Three goals down, Hamilton's resistance was negligible. On picking the ball up around 35 yards from goal the nearest player was four or five yards away but even he was moving away from the Hibs star.

Mallan had so much time and space that he could have had a flick through his different social media accounts, deal with emails and then have one more look at Twitter before shooting.

He used the time wisely, deciding to hit a low effort, from right to left, across Woods.

Similarly to the Kilmarnock free-kick he whipped his right foot around the ball, bringing it back to ground quickly for balance with his left foot in the air. However, this time, he made sure to use the lesson every young football is taught, keep your head over the ball.

The movement on the ball so it skip off the turf inside in the six-yard box away from the despairing Woods and into the bottom corner.