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Celtic v St Mirren (Sat Jan 30th 2021)

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Celtic 1 (Edouard 32)

St Mirren 2 (Dennis 18, Durmus 37)

I didn't have the energy last night to do a blog on the game as what can there be to decipher ? What benefit could we get ?

However in the end I've look into the stats to see if they can tell me anything other than the obvious.

Shots at 19 wasn't too bad but the 4 on target was dreadful. I highlighted the low 7 on target versus Hamilton as a potential concern and against a stronger team this had the potential to be an issue.

Possession dropped from 75% v Hamilton to 68% although overall possession in the game in the St Mirren's final 3rd was 39%. 39% of the game being played in the opponents final 3rd is the highest that it has been since August and the 2nd highest all season. 266 passes in the final third was the highest that has been since September. A positive but you wouldn't think so after yesterday. What does that tell us? Poor finishing, poor chance creation, poor tactical plans or great goalkeeping ? Alnwick wasn't called upon too much.

I don't buy into this "the players are not trying" camp that many fans seem to believe. When we are deciding if it is Will or Skill that is the issue and conclude it is Will it doesn't always need to be non-triers. Low confidence, lack of belief, fear of failure and blaming of others can lead to lack of Will/Motivation even from those who want it badly and do care.

Blaming of others can come when desperation to succeed is accompanied by poor team performance. Negativity can be very infectious.

But 39% of the game in the final 3rd would suggest there was some determination and energy although I'm pretty sure many would disagree with me. I'd then suggest this would further more lead to the cause being poor tactical plans combined with players low on confidence.

Connected to this is a measure I look at and % of Celtic's passing being in the final 3rd. There is a trend that in the last 15 minutes this reduces. (See my post on Passing in the Final Third Trends So if the above tells us the players have energy and determination but there is a drop in the last 15 minutes this could then lead to a fitness issue. Or an extreme case of dejection/lack of belief.

In the chart above I have included possession%, pass accuracy%, pass% share final third, shots, touches in the box and opponents clearances to give an indication of when we produced pressure in the game ... and to see if there were any fluctuations.

And if so, why.

A big drop on possession and pressure in St Mirren's box in 15-30mins would indicate heads had dropped after St Mirren's goal in 18mins. A more curious stat would be our 2nd lowest possession and our lowest %pass accuracy in 45-60mins. You would have expected the team to be inspired and driven after a half time refocus. Why more box touches and St Mirren clearances in 60-75mins? Introduction of Christie and Ajeti in 62mins bringing some energy? However that energy and pressure only lead to 2 shots.

796 total touches of the ball were 43 less than v Hamilton and 90 less than our previous game against St Mirren (away). 83% pass accuracy was 3% less than that previous game v St Mirren and total passes of 601 was 102 less than that previous game. Only 4 corners is an indication of our lack of width and is quite consistent with a poor season of obtaining corners.

Best Celtic player cannot go to a defender or midfielder given we lost and conceded 2 goals so has to go to Edouard with 3 shots, 51 touches (4 in the box), 31 passes at 81% accuracy and a goal.

Celtic kept the same team and kept the number of teams selected to 33. Neil must have got my memo :)

- Bain

- Ajer, Bitton, Duff and Taylor

- Soro

- Turnbull, Elyounoussi and McGregor

- Griffiths and Edouard

Welsh, Johnston, Christie and Ajeti came on as subs.

Key note - Despite most touches in the final third since September and needing 2 goals we brought a midfielder on for Griffiths at half time. What does Ajeti have to do ?

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