The analysis and writing in this article is by Bhoys Analytics. They cover a wide range of Celtic subjects on Twitter @BhoysAnalytics.

In this piece, a close look is taken at the data from yesterday’s win over Motherwell and how it may contrast to our immediate opinions on the game.

Note: you can find the definitions for some of the terms used in this article such as xG and xA via Opta.

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So how did Celtic do against Motherwell this weekend? There are some positives but it was again a performance rife with errors seen in previous games.

Motherwell were narrow and didn’t engage in the first half (no first-half shots), they’ll regret that.

Celtic v Motherwell running xG total

Celtic v Motherwell xG Running Total

First, the positives

Our reliance on Odsonne Edouard for output continued as he had another good game posting 0.61 xG. He improved on the Kilmarnock game where he only completed 2 out of 16 dribbles. Against Motherwell, he completed 4 out of 5. He also had 3 of his 4 shots from inside the box.

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David Turnbull was also very productive, with 0.17 xG & 0.45 xA. However, the poor coaching from Neil Lennon and staff is starting to become very apparent, with persistent long shots. This needs to be coached out of his game when any new manager comes in.

Now for the Negatives

First I’ll give an example of how the midfield and defence should be set up to deal with the events that led to the goal.

Here, we’re 2 v 2 at the touchline, with no large gap inside, as the space is filled by Ismaila Soro and Turnbull.

Celtic shape

A solid Celtic shape in this scenario

Below, the first picture should be very obvious in whats wrong. There’s a 3 v 2 press and Scott Brown is deep. That gives Motherwell man Allan Campbell all the space in the world.

In the second picture, Campbell gets the ball and moves towards the box, still no pressure.

Motherwell in attack

Brown finally engages but gets nowhere near Campbell as he cuts inside to his favoured foot.

Campbell shoots after carrying the ball 20 yards under no pressure (lots of players around him to the extent I am surprised no meme has been made).

Goalkeeper Scott Bain is a bit off his line for no reason.

Celtic keep making the same mistakes too.

Below, there’s a big hole in the pitch again which Campbell easily exploits. Diego Laxalt for whatever reason decides to step out of his defensive line to engage, even though he’s marking someone. Campbell just passes it past him.


This scenario might look familiar because of course, it is. This pressuring when not necessary has been prevalent in the game of Shane Duffy, Brown and Laxalt all season.

I thought the following error was down to our defensive midfielder being in the wide full back position, even so, I cant figure out why we move across so much.

We are just making giant gaps in our box. Perhaps we’re starting to have some issues with Stephen Welsh positionally. He seems too wide a lot of the time.

Laxalt: The villain or the hero?

Laxalt was deemed a hero for his goal-line clearance but was the chance his fault? Yes, in my view, it was.

In the first picture, in the box from left to right is Welsh, Laxalt (at centre-back for some reason), Ajer (the real hero) & Callum McGregor, trying to cover the Laxalt gap.

Due to everyone being out of position we can also see, if the ball dropped, Motherwell had two free men on the edge of the box in the 93rd minute.

Bain is a non-presence again, moving into no man’s land. McGregor can’t fill the gap in time.

Ajer, the only one in position, manages to just put off the two attacking players. Laxalt, well out position, clears off the line. It’s painfully poor stuff all round.

I’d like to be positive after a win. Celtic did have some good on show. However, we are chronically making the same errors over and over again in defence.

My assumption is the team and coaches don’t watch games back and try to fix the errors.

You can follow the author of this article, Bhoys Analytics, on Twitter for more insight and data on Celtic.

In other news, Shaun Maloney has been discussing the Celtic restructure.

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