The outstanding Celtic statistic that doesn't get enough credit
Quite rightly, in terms of pointing out a Celtic statistic after beating St Mirren last night, people will likely just look at the all-important scoreline.
Two goals scored, and another win to the add to the collection. Despite all the setbacks from this campaign, the Bhoys keep marching under Ange Postecoglou. Even against stuffy defences aimed at frustrating the Hoops, the league table points to utter Celtic consistency [SPFL].
Last night brought something else, though; another clean sheet at home. All in, Celtic have conceded just 4 goals at Parkhead, haven’t lost a league game at home, and have scored 33. The first of those is perhaps the most important, here.
At the start of the season, even ex-Celtic managers like Neil Lennon [Daily Record] were saying that Ange Postecoglou needed to change his style. We were “kamikaze”, a team that could be got at defensively, with very obvious vulnerabilities. That, playing a high line and dominating possession would leave gaps open, even playing in splendour of Celtic Park.
We were also told that Carl Starfelt wasn’t good enough, that the new defence wouldn’t gel, and that it’d be our undoing over the course of the season.
Now we know that’s utter nonsense. And though it doesn’t get mentioned a lot, the cliché about making our home ground a fortress has become a reality. Unless you happen to be Dundee, who scored twice against us at home, the likelihood of Celtic conceding at home is minimal, and the statistic proves that unequivocally.
Ange Postecoglou and Celtic have answered critics of defence, and Paradise statistic proves that
Can we collectively now say that Celtic are an excellent defensive unit?
It seems almost alien. There’s a prevailing idea that a team has to be one or the other; ruthlessly attacking, or defensively strong. Postecoglou’s emphasis on high-pressing, high-intensity football means that these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
By dominating possession and creating chances at one end, we’re keeping the ball away from the other. That’s a big factor here; at home, we’re taking the game to opposition and cutting out potential counter-attacks at the source.
It also owes much to the technical prowess of our defenders, though. Carl Starfelt has come under particular criticism, but he’s a big reason why Celtic aren’t conceding at home. He’s been excellent at sniffing out danger, making 3.2 clearances per 90 in the Premiership, as well as 1.4 interceptions and tackles a game [WhoScoerd?]. Cameron Carter-Vickers, who Celtic need to push the boat out to keep, is posting similar stats, and dominating aerially.
Juranovic and Taylor offer something different as inverted full-backs, getting heavily involved in our attacking play. But how often have Celtic been cut apart in wide areas at home this season? Apart from Ian Harkes’ goal for Dundee United, it’s hard to remember any examples.
This is a unit that’s come together in no time, and is absolutely excelling.
Surely, the season won’t end with us only conceding 4 at home. Saying that, can you honestly see Celtic letting in goals en masse as the season winds down?