IT'S easy for players of clubs outside of the Premiership's top sides to fly under the radar of many Scottish football fans. Live broadcasts focus primarily on Celtic and Rangers, and the Old Firm - along with the two Edinburgh clubs, Motherwell and Aberdeen - tend to dominate analysis of the Scottish top flight.

Supporters simply aren't exposed to certain teams as they are to others, and for that reason players who ply their trade around the middle or towards the bottom of the Premiership can often go unnoticed by Scottish football fans. One such man is Livingston's Stevie Lawless - but it's about time we started paying more attention to the former Partick Thistle winger.

Lawless joined Livi shortly after the West Lothian club defeated the Jags in the Premiership play-off around 18 months ago and is now one of the most important players on the books at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Usually deployed on either wing - although occasionally as a wing-back, or even a central midfielder - the 28-year-old has proven his versatility at Livingston, as well as an impressive level of fitness and reliability.


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Since leaving Thistle, Lawless has racked up an impressive 60 appearances for his new club in around a year-and-a-half. The winger has been involved in all but three of Livingston's league games since the start of last season and has started in just about all of them. He didn't take part in any of Livi's League Cup group stage matches at the start of last season but has played in every League Cup or Scottish Cup game for the Lions since.

If the previous campaign was something of a settling-in period for Lawless, this season has been anything but. The Motherwell youth product accumulated three goals and four assists during the 2018/19 season - a decent haul, but hardly show-stopping - but has turned into Livingston's greatest creative outlet this campaign.

After 17 Premiership games this term, Lawless has six goals and three assists to his name. That makes him not only Livi's top goalscorer in the league, but also the assist leader in Gary Holt's side as well. In six Betfred Cup fixtures, the former Thistle wide player also grabbed a goal and a further three assists for his team-mates.

This might not sound especially impressive at first, but it places Lawless in the top 10 scorers in the entire league. Only two midfielders - Celtic pair Ryan Christie and James Forrest - have scored more than the tricky winger this season, which leaves Lawless in esteemed company indeed.

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But the true value of Lawless to Holt is perhaps best represented in the overall proportion of goals that he has been directly involved in this season. Livingston aren't exactly the most free-flowing, goal-happy side in the division and have only 20 Premiership goals to their name this season. Lawless has either scored or assisted 45 per cent of these: the highest percentage of any top-flight player this season.

Going by these figures, there is certainly an argument to be made that no other Premiership side relies so heavily on one player as Livi do on Lawless. Yes, players like Odsonne Edouard or Alfredo Morelos are key players for Celtic and Rangers respectively but both clubs have perfectly adequate replacements on the books or other players that can fill the goalscoring void when they don't play. But neither of the pair comes close to the overall proportion of goal involvements that Lawless provides; Edouard has scored or assisted 26 percent of Celtic's league goals this year while Morelos has been directly involved in 24 percent. Even Ryan Christie, the league leader in combined goals and assists, has only contributed directly to 30 percent of Celtic's league goals. The sheer number of goals that Lawless either provides for his team-mates or scores himself makes him an invaluable asset to Livingston.

Lyndon Dykes usually grabs the headlines for this Livingston side - a goal against the champions generally tends to help in that regard - but it is Lawless, Livingston's unsung hero, who is perhaps more deserving of the limelight this season. The winger has become an integral cog in Holt's midfield and it's about time he gained the recognition that his displays this season have merited. He might not be a particularly eye-catching player at an especially fashionable club, but Lawless is enjoying a superb campaign. It's about time we all sat up and took notice.