A wee bit late with the preview although it was on the 20 Minute Tims Patreon earlier.
Probabilities for this game are Celtic 79%, Ross County 6% and 15% for the draw. (Celtic were 73% for the game in Dingwall at the start of the month).
Ross County are currently 2nd bottom of the SPFL with 3 points from their five games. 1 win and 4 defeats however they did have Celtic, Rangers and Hearts in those fixtures. The other two fixtures were away to St Mirren (lost 1-0) and home to Kilmarnock (won 1-0).
From an xG point of view they had 0.35 versus St Mirren while St Mirren had 0.25. They were maybe unlucky to lose this game however when only creating 0.35 xG you are not likely to win those games. Against Kilmarnock they created 0.65 and Kilmarnock had 0.75 and they scored with only 9 minutes to go. That’s the only 9 minutes of the league they have been leading so far this season. They have been losing in 153 minutes (34% of the minutes played).
Against Celtic 6th August Ross County lined up with;
1 Ross Laidlaw
2 Connor Randall, 5 Jack Baldwin, 6 Alex Iacovitti and 3 Ben Purrington
8 Ross Callachan and 4 David Cancola
22 Jordan Tillson, 9 Dominic Samuel and 24 Ben Paton
19 Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila
Against St Mirren Callum Johnson came in for Randall, Owura Edwards came in for Tillson and Josh Sims came in for Paton.
Then against Kilmarnock Johnson and Sims retained their places but Kazeem Olaigbe came in for Edwards and Yan Dhanda came in for Samuel.
Against Rangers there were 3 changes with George Harmon getting his first start of the season (for Sims) and Viktor Loturi and Keith Watson come in for the suspended Baldwin and Callachan who were given retrospective bans. Baldwin and Callachan are also suspended for the Celtic game.
Their line up against Rangers then was;
12 Johnson, 15 Watson, 6 Iacovitti and 3 Purrington
14 Loturi and 4 Cancola
17 Olaigbe, 10 Dhanda and 16 Harmon
Top players for xG for Ross County so far this season have been attacking midfielders Sims 0.85, Edwards 0.54 and Samuel on 0.44 with forwards White and Hiwula-Mayifuila on 0.41 and 0.17. The only other player above 0.1 is Callachan on 0.2. These figures are in total for the season so far and not a per game figure.
Hiwula-Mayifuila may aim to make a couple of runs in behind on to a long ball but that can easily be dealt with by just bringing him down as Sands successfully did at the weekend.
For xA their biggest contributors have been full backs Johnson and Purrington on 0.33 and 0.30. Then there is Edwards and Baldwin on 0.23 each, Dhanda on 0.18, White on 0.13, Olaigbe on 0.12 and Cancola on 0.11. Again these are total figures for the first 5 games.
Stats from the last five Celtic v Ross County encounters below;
· Home (Sep ‘21) – Celtic won 3-0 (NPxG 2.71/0.50). Possession 77% Celtic
· Away (Dec ‘21) – Celtic won 2-1 (NPxG 2.56/0.99). Possession 75% Celtic
· Home (Mar ‘22) – Celtic won 4-0 (NPxG 3.13/0.23). Possession 81% Celtic
· Away (Apr ‘22) – Celtic won 2-0 (NPxG 2.63/0.38). Possession 74% Celtic
· Away (Aug ’22) – Celtic win 3-1 (NPxG 1.74/0.39). Possession 77% Celtic
Celtic having xPts of 2.6, 2.3, 3, 2.9 and 2.25 for these games.
In the last game Jenz had the most possession with 11.6% of the game possession, McGregor had 11.4% and Carter-Vickers had 9.4%. Most for Ross County was the keeper Laidlaw with 3.8% then Baldwin and Callachan on 2.4% each.
Possession trends in the previous game show Celtic’s best period as 65 to 70 minutes with Celtic having 100% possession in this period and the best period for Ross County was 80 to 85 minutes where Ross County had 60%.
With the Rangers game at the weekend and Real Madrid soon after Ange won’t risk the players playing them 3 times in 6 days so I’d expect a good few changes to the line up for this game. With a changed team and Ross County wary about a large defeat (following Celtic’s performance against Dundee Utd) I suspect a closer game and I predict a 1-0 or 2-0 win for Celtic, especially as it is a cup tie.
I’m going to take a guess at the following line up for Celtic;
· Ralston, Welsh, Starfelt and Bernabei
· Turnbull, McCarthy and Mooy
· Abada, Giakoumakis and Forrest
With Sead Haksabanovic to make his debut from the bench.
Celtic Trends 🍀📈⚽️