This article was written by Tony McLaughlin at Celtic Trends, a website looking at – and analyzing – the statistics behind Celtic Football Club, to give insight into both play on the park and decisions in the boardroom.

You can follow him on Twitter @Tony_McLaughlin.

Here, Tony takes a look at some of the numbers and issues behind Saturday’s match against Motherwell.

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Celtic 2 (Welsh 2, Edouard 51)

Motherwell 1 (Campbell 66)

Celtic lined up with their 35th different 11 of the season;

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  • Bain
  • Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Taylor
  • Brown
  • Rogic, Turnbull and McGregor
  • Ajeti and Edouard

Team selection and substitutions

Scott Brown retained his place after a good game against Kilmarnock. It seems par for the course that we just keep playing Brown until he has a bad game and the damage is then done. Good coaches would drop Brown BEFORE he had a bad game.

Brown and Callum McGregor have to be questioned for the Motherwell goal (as does our goalkeeper unsurprisingly). Positioning, communication and closing down were all over the place from both.

Will Ismaila Soro be the next young player to want away? Similarly, how pleased will David Turnbull be at getting subbed again? From his 15 starts his average time on the pitch is 76mins. He’s only completed the 90mins in two games (the two post Dubai games). Why take him off and keep Tom Rogic on?

Rogic came in for Ryan Christie and it was even more surprising that Rogic played the No.8 role. Everyone expected that Turnbull would drop back. Personally, I’d have played Ewan Henderson in the No.8 instead of Rogic as we need some more hungry and energetic players in the team.

Celtic Motherwell

Celtic celebrate a goal v Motherwell / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Greg Taylor, a winning choice?

I did predict in my preview that our full-backs would get plenty of width and the game did turn out like that. We had 34 crosses (joint 2nd best of the season). Greg Taylor had 10 of them and Jonjoe Kenny had 8. The total of 34 was a big increase on our 15 crosses against Kilmarnock. Both fullbacks also contributed 7 key passes (Taylor 4 and Kenny 3).

 

I gave man of the match to a player I don’t rate – Taylor . I don’t rate him because I believe he is limited in ability in regards to pace, dribbling ability, height and strength.

However, I must admit given that limited ability he has given it his all this season and is one player we can say has played the best he could.

A game like this suits him (ie allowed the time on the ball and doesn’t need to beat a man) but that said some of his possession and passing was really good. He had 8.1% of the possession (more than any other player on the pitch) and had 96 touches (2nd only to Kenny on 98) despite only playing 70mins.

While I said I wasn’t a Taylor fan, here’s a stat for you. Since 2016 and including only players who have started 25 games or more Taylor is 2nd best on points-per-game-started on 2.65pts per game (Stuart Armstrong with 2.7pts per game is the only one in front).

Celtic v Motherwell stats

Celtic v Motherwell stats

Celtic v Motherwell stats

Looking at the negative stats first. Similar to the other recent games our passing accuracy %, possession % and passes in the final third % dropped in the last 15 minutes. A common trend is that we drop possession and passing after conceding as if the players’ heads drop.

The positive stats were that we had 22 shots and 15 of them were shots in the box. We had 813 touches and 625 passes and our 89% pass accuracy is the 3rd best percentage of the season.

Our best and most pleasing stat was that we had 301 passes in the final third and 44% of the game was played in the final third. That’s our best of the season for both stats (2nd best for final third play was 40%).

You can follow Tony McLaughlin’s work at Celtic Trends or follow him on Twitter @Tony_McLaughlin.

In other news, Greg Taylor has had promising words to say about Stephen Welsh.

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