Celtic drop out of top 100 on global club power index

By Euan Davidson

January 21, 2021

Celtic have dropped out of the top 100 clubs in the world.

That’s according to FiveThirtyEight, who picked Manchester City as the top club in the world, based on their data. The Bhoys sit 109th, above Boca Juniors, but beneath Newcastle United.

Hey, don’t blame us: the data is based on a number of factors. According to FiveThirtyEight (links provided):

“The forecasts are based on a substantially revised version of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), a rating system originally devised (EPSN) by FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver in 2009.

“We have updated and adapted SPI to incorporate club soccer data going back to 1888 (from more than 550,000 matches in all) that we’ve collected from ESPN’s database and the Engsoccerdata GitHub repository, as well as from play-by-play data produced by Opta that has been available since 2010.”

Celtic managed an SPI rating of 60.5. The rating is “our best estimate of a team’s overall strength”. That factors in things like expected goals/goal scored, defensive statistics and last season’s performance.

For the Bhoys, it represents a 20-place slide in the rankings. 637 clubs are included in the data, and it’ll be a blow to some supporters that our stock has fallen so rapidly.

Halcyon Days: Number 1 and 109 square off / (Photo by Visionhaus#GP/Corbis via Getty Images)

Celtic out of the Top 100, but is it fair?

We’re sure FiveThirtyEight have robust procedures for collating their data. Their full methodology is available here, for the budding mathematicians amongst you.

However, it’s quite hard to get your head around some of the rankings here.

Scottish teams are at a natural disadvantage. FiveThirtyEight explains:

“To assess the relative strength of domestic leagues, we use recent matches played between teams from different leagues, supplemented with league market values from Transfermarkt, to assign a strength rating to every league for which we have data.”

Therefore, given the stature of the Scottish Premiership compared to Europe’s Big 5, our results will mean less. Whether that’s fair or not is another debate entirely, but it explains why we’re closer to Bournemouth and Norwich than say, Real Madrid.

Needless to say, this’ll cause plenty of debate. Are the rankings fair? Do they reflect our club’s decline over the last 12 months?

Have your say on the 67 Hail Hail Forum.