A report has found that Celtic are the 10th cleanest team in European football.
The findings have been published by CIES Football Observatory, with the Hoops the highest-ranked in Scotland in terms of cleanliness and the fourth highest in Britain.
The table is ranked by finding out, on average, how many fouls a team commits per game. Celtic sit with an average of 9.50, which is enough to bag a spot in the top 10.
In terms of Scottish clubs, Rangers are apparently the second cleanest with an average of 11. In terms of their European rank, however, they sit way behind Celtic in 61st place. That makes them a whole 51 places behind us in terms of cleanliness.
Liverpool top the table as the fairest team 0n an average number of 8.14. However, down the other end of the table you can find Vojvodina of Serbia. They have an incredible average of 22 fouls committed in a game. Here’s hoping we don’t draw them anytime soon!
A nice stat, but not really what we’re after
If we were to lose the Premiership this season, not many will point to the fair play table and take solace from it. It’s all about winning trophies and getting one glorious step closer to the 10.
However, it’s interesting to see how far up we are when it comes to the rankings. It’s perhaps a sign of just how dominant we are in Scotland in terms of ball possession. It’s also a key indicator regarding just how little we challenge unfairly.
Then again, that’s not always a plus point. We always want our defenders to be aggressive and to get stuck in. There will be cynics who think that the table shows a lack of bite in our ranks. But with Liverpool being top, not many can argue its validity.
Neil Lennon, of course, won’t be paying it a moment’s thought. We can’t pretend that it’s anything other than just a nice table to look at. If we were behind Rangers, for example, we would be laughing it off. So it’s not something we can blow out of proportion.
It’s a nice indicator that our challenges for the ball have been well-timed for the most part. To go through football matches with an average of nine fouls or so per game isn’t an easy thing to achieve.
Hopefully we reap the rewards for being Scotland’s cleanest club come the end of the season. But so long as we win the league title, not many in our support would care if we were one of the dirtiest.