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Celtic v St Mirren (Match Preview)

Probabilities for the match are - Celtic 78%, St Mirren 7% and 15% the draw.

St Mirren are 3rd in the league on 18pts and 3pts behind Rangers in 2nd with a game in hand. However their xPts are only 10.91 which is 8th in the league. They are 9th for xG on 9.8 (15 goals scored) and they are 4th for xGA on 11.9 (10 goals conceded). 10 goals conceded is the joint 3rd best.

So their position in the league is mainly down to their defensive performance.

Below is their xPts trends graph per game which shows they were potentially unlucky with their draw against Aberdeen but possibly lucky in the Dundee and Motherwell games.

St Mirren are;

  • 3rd for crosses at 5.2 per match. Although 7th for crossing accuracy at 23.6%

  • 12th for accurate passes per match 189 and 12th for passing accuracy at 62.3%

  • 11th for possession on 42.4%

  • 2nd for clearances per match at 27

  • 12th for possession won in the final 3rd at 2.8 per match.

  • 8th for possession won in the midfield at 26.7 per match.

  • 10th for successful tackles per match at 8.9. 6th for % success rate for tackles at 65%.

  • 11th for Set Play xG at 1.91

  • 12th for passes per sequence at 2.0. Celtic are top on 4.25.

  • 12th for 10+ passing sequences at 13. Celtic are top on 172.

  • 12th for PPDA on 15.2.

  • Joint 1st for least amount of players used this season on 20.

St Mirren were at home to St Johnstone in their last game and they lined up with the following;

  • 1 Hemming

  • 22 Fraser, 13 Gogic and 5 Taylor

  • 8 Flynn, 17 Baccus, 6 O'Hara and 3 Tanser

  • 10 McMenamin and 11 Kiltie

  • 9 Mandron

Subs used were striker Toyosi Olusanya, Northern Ireland U21 central midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce, centre back James Bolton, centre back Charles Dunne and New Zealand striker Alex Greive and they came on for McMenamin, Baccus, Taylor, Flynn and Mandron.

Unused subs were Slovakian U19 goalkeeper Peter Urminsky, 19 year old left back Thierry Small, Israel U21 striker Stav Nachmani, 21 year old striker Lewis Jamieson. Unused subs were goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott, left back Lewis Stevenson, central midfielder Allan Delferriere and attacking midfielder Josh Campbell.

Jonah Ayunga and Ryan Strain were missing due to injury and suspension.

  • Zachary Hemming is 3rd in the SPFL for goals prevented with 10 conceded and 12.1 expected goals conceded. He's 6th for save percentage at 71.4%

  • ex-Celt Marcus Fraser has played 145 appearances for St Mirren and 4 goals.

  • Cypriot centre back Alex Gogic has 0.64 xG and 0.24 xA so far this season.

  • Richard Taylor is 8th in the SPFL 2.1 interceptions per 90.

  • 35 year old Ryan Flynn has the most points per match for St Mirren at 2.33. However Ryan Strain will return at right wing back after suspension and he was St Mirren's biggest contributor to xA last season with 22.5% of their xA coming from him. He was also 2nd best (behind Curtis Main) for NP xG with 10.6% of their NP xG coming from him.

  • Australian internationalist Keanu Baccus has the most yellow cards in the SPFL with 5.

  • Mark O'Hara has 15 goals for St Mirren in 51 matches.

  • Scott Tanser is St Mirren's top rated player at 7.42 and is St Mirren's top player for xA this season with 2.2 which is 4th in the SPFL. He has 1 assist. He's 11th in the SPFL for xA per 90 on 0.25.

  • Forward Conor McMenamin has 10 caps for Nothern Ireland and signed for St Mirren in the summer.

  • Greg Kiltie is top for St Mirren for xG with 2 which is 22nd in the SPFL.

  • Mikael Mandron was signed from Motherwell in the summer after playing 11 games for Motherwell last season and he scored 3 goals.

Alex Greive is top for xG per 90 on 0.60 which is 8th in the SPFL. He actually has 1.18 goals per 90.

Shop map for the last match against St Johnstone is below. They had 10 shots with an xG of 1.46 and Post Shot xG of 2.63 and they won the match 4-0.

Curtis Main was St Mirren's biggest contributor to Non Penalty xG last season with 23.3% of their NP xG coming from him.

The way St Mirren play - sitting deep and not having much possession in the match - means that Celtic need more incisive play to break them down. Palma and Maeda on the wings isn't necessarily ideal and Bernardo in midfield isn't either.

Although not playing great either Forrest, Yang or Johnston may be needed. I don't think the game suits Maeda. Unless Maeda plays up front with Kyogo just behind which may just work.

Kyogo instead of Bernardo may just work with the other options McGregor (with Iwata in the deeper role), Holm and Turnbull all not great from that creative point of view.

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