Data experts predict Celtic to topple Rangers in title race

By David Walton

December 4, 2019

Data experts FiveThirtyEight have predicted that Celtic will once again topple Rangers in the Scottish Premiership this season.

Both sides have been neck-and-neck this year, with neither giving much away. Only five points have been dropped by either side, but the Hoops did win at Ibrox back in September.

It certainly looks like it could be a close one this year. However, according to FiveThirtyEight, Celtic will still manage to pip their rivals to the post.

Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard are separated by just one goal (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

They state that Celtic are 54% likely to win the league, and predict that we’ll finish one point ahead of our rivals. With goal difference also being a hot topic, we’re apparently on course to finish two goals ahead of our foes come the end of the season too.

This would leave Celtic on a fine 95 points and a goal difference of +80. Rangers apparently only have a 46% chance of winning the title this season, despite their improved form.

The two sides meet in the league at the end of December in the final match before the winter split. The statisticians believe that Rangers only have a 28% chance of a first Parkhead win since 2010. Celtic, on the other hand, are 47% likely to do the business.

Promising figures, but difficult to read too much into it

There are some promising figures on the prediction list, but in fairness, it’s difficult to legislate for many things on a football pitch.

Neil Lennon won’t be paying much attention to predictions (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

For example, you can’t always accurately predict when a team’s striker will have an off-day, or when a centre-back will sell the jerseys with a costly mistake. These are the kinds of things that can change the complexion of a title-race.

The main task this season is of course to topple Rangers. However, you would still like to think we could make it a little more comfortable than FiveThirtyEight have predicted here. Rangers have away matches against Motherwell and Hibernian before they come to Parkhead at the end of the month. We have to view that as a chance to peel away from our rivals before the New Year.

What these stats do show is that we’re still performing to a better standard than our Ibrox rivals. Our performances are more impressive and we still have a bigger goal threat too.

Celtic are going all-out to equal a record nine-in-a-row this season (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, don’t expect Neil Lennon to pay much attention to any of this. He’ll only have his eyes on getting the job done on the pitch, starting with Hamilton Accies at Celtic Park tonight.

And with an apparent 94% chance of victory over Brian Rice’s men, you have to fancy our chances!