St Mirren v Celtic (Match Preview)
Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Probabilities for the match are Celtic 76%, St Mirren 8% and 16% for the draw.
St Mirren are 8th in the league with 9 points and they are overperforming on expected points as they have 7.25 expected points. However those 7.25 expected points make them 7th in the expected points table.
Their NP xG is averaging 1.09 per game while NP xGA is 1.135. For Set Play xG St Mirren are actually 11th however they are joint best (with Celtic) for Set Play xG conceded.
From last season's most played 11 players for St Mirren Alnwick, Power, Ronan and McCarthy haven't been involved. Neither has McGrath who was 12th most played player. All 5 players left St Mirren in the summer.
St Mirren have consistently played 3-5-2 this season. Their line up is likely to be;
22 Fraser, 31 Gallagher and 18 Dunne
23 Strain, 17 Baccus, 16 Erhahon, 6 O'Hara and 2 Tait
7 Ayunga and 10 Main
Average positions for their last two games opposite. Versus St Johnstone above and versus Hibernian below.
In goals is Trevor Carson who was signed from Dundee Utd in the summer.
Carson's save % is only 61.9% this season which is 9th in the league. However he has conceded 1.2 goals less than Post Shot xG faced and that is 3rd best in the league.
Carson is 3rd most in the league for the amount of long balls per game at 30.5 per game. This is more tactical for St Mirren rather than individually to Carson as Alwick was 2nd most last season on 30.9.
In centre defence Marcus Fraser is the right centre back and Charles Dunne is the left centre back with Declan Gallagher who they signed from Aberdeen in the middle.
Ex Adelaide Utd Ryan Strain was signed from Maccabi Haifa in the summer and is playing right wing back and Richard Tait is playing left wing back. Strain has had 52 crosses this season which is 2nd out of all players in the league. Left wing back cover (Tanser) was 4th out of all players last season so crossing from wing backs is something they work on. Strain is 7th in the league (outwith Celtic and Rangers players) for xA on 0.15 per game.
Keanu Baccus was signed from Western Sydney Wanderers in the summer and he plays right centre midfield. Mark O'Hara was signed from Motherwell in the summer and he plays left centre midfield and in the centre of midfield is Ethan Erhahon and he has played 93% of the league minutes this season despite not being in the 13th most played players for St Mirren last season. Erhahon's average carry distance is 8.29 metres and that is the 2nd lowest average in the league. However he is winning 2 tackles per game from 2.7 attempted. Baccus is averaging 2.7 fouls per game which is the 3rd most in the league.
Ex-Brighton forward Jonah Ayunga was signed from Morecambe in the summer and he plays up front in a partnership with Curtis Main. Ayunga has had 8 carries this year and these resulted in 5 shots. 5 shots from carries is joint 3rd best in the league with only van Veen (Motherwell) and Jota beating that on 7 and 8. 63% of shots from carries is a very high success rate and for comparison Jota's 5 shots have come from 22 carries. Ayunga and Main aren't creating much with only 0.07 and 0.06 per game which is at Kyogo levels. However their xG per game of 0.29 and 0.27 is joint 4th and joint 6th out of all non Celtic and Rangers players.
Ayunga does though have 2.8 bad controls per game (3rd worst in the league) and is dispossessed 2.5 times per game (3rd worst in the league). He's also committed 13 fouls and had 4 yellow cards and he's lost the most aerials per game at 5.5 lost per game from 7.7 attempted.
Joe Shaughnessy is the replacement centre back.
Jay Henderson and Fraser Taylor are the cover options for right wing back and as mentioned above Scott Tanser is the cover for left back.
In the middle Alex Gogic, Ryan Flynn and Alex Greive are the cover for the midfield.
Eamonn Brophy and Greg Kiltie are the cover for the forwards although Greg Kiltie has also deputised in central midfield as well.
Unused subs this season have been Slovakian keeper Peter Urminsky, defender Luke Kenny, central midfielder Dylan Reid (who Celtic have been linked with), midfielder Kieran Offord and forward Toyosi Olusanya.
Celtic's line up is more difficult to predict. I would have suggested after a tiring European game that Ange may freshen things up a bit and have a few changes in the team however given that it is an international break after this then that may change his mind.
A pure guess would be;
Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Jenz and Taylor
O'Riley, McGregor and Hatate
Abada, Giakoumakis and Haksabanovic
With Juranovic, Kyogo and Jota getting a rest although I wouldn't be totally surprised to see Moy or Turnbull get a start.
For a tip I'm going for Haksabanovic to score first at 9/2.
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