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Celtic's 1.266 touches per pass v Livingston

Celtic v Livingston (Review)

Celtic 6 (Forrest 30, Turnbull 38, OG 50, Elyounoussi 54 & 66, Christie 87)

Livingston 0

The Livingston team was as I predicted however there was one change in the Celtic line up to what I had predicted with Laxalt being replaced by Taylor for our 42nd different line up of the season (in 48 games).

As predicted though it was a change back to the 4231 formation. I thought it was only a matter of time before Kennedy went back to 4231.


- Bain

- Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Taylor

- Brown and McGregor

- Forrest, Turnbull and Elyounoussi

- Edouard

- Christie, Ajeti, Rogic, Soro & Griffiths came on as subs

I mentioned in the Falkirk review that we needed a 5+ goal victory and that it was disappointing that we couldn't do this versus a League 1 side so it was good to see things finally clicking into place versus Livingston.

In the preview I mentioned the fact it would be the battle of the Forrest's with Livingston having a tendency to attack from the left through Allan and that he would be up against his brother James on our right. As much as Allan did play on the left he played further forward and more inward than normal as Livingston played a more man for man marking defensive tactic and therefore Allan and James didn't come up against each other that much during the game. Maybe Martindale changed his plans due to it being National Siblings Day. 😊

This season we have had the most shots at goal of any team in the SPFL however that hasn't produced the wins it should have. We just haven't been clinical enough. Before Saturday only 38% of our shots were on target, only 56% of our shots were in the box and our NP xG per shot was 0.097.

On Saturday we had 11 shots on target (65% from shots taken), 15 shots in the box (88% from shots taken) and a NP xG per shot of 0.142 which is a very good sign and may indicate better planning and coaching in regards to clinical finishing. (NP xG courtesy of @ModernFitba)

Another pleasing sign was that out of the three 15 minute segments in each half the best for % passing accuracy and touches was the final one with 176 touches and 91% at the end of the first half and 147 touches and 91% at the end of the second half. Previously we have dropped in these periods so maybe better fitness in the team as well (although winning comfortably would lift confidence and therefore possibly help these stats).

Our 609 accurate passes was our 3rd best of the season and our 1.266 touches per pass was the lowest this season which highlights some good slick passing between the players. (Average for the season is 1.338 touches per pass). Welsh was a massive contributor to this with the lowest touches per pass of 1.11 with Ajer and McGregor also good on 1.13 and 1.14. In 30 to 45 mins Welsh had 1.047 touches per pass helping to speed up our play.

Welsh had an incredible 128 touches in the game which is double what he had in the game versus Dundee Utd. Teams recently have used the tactic of allowing Welsh time on the ball and it looks like we have been working on this and made a positive impact.

The Player Impact Graph below shows the gap between Welsh and the rest of the team.

I'm not going to carried away though and think we are world beaters after a good resounding win. This was up against a high pressing team that we could play around and a team who have dipped in form recently. So there should a relative calmness when looking at this performance.

Nonetheless there are some very good positives to take from the game, namely;

- a season best 65% of shots on target

- a season 4th best of 11 shots on target

- a season best 88% of shots being in the box

- a season 2nd best equal of 15 shots in the box

- a season 4th best of NP xG 0.14 per shot

- a season 3rd best of 609 accurate passes

- a season lowest of 1.266 touches per pass

Here's hoping that the effectiveness in shooting carries forward into our remaining games of the season.

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