Celtic will resume their Scottish Premiership 2022-23 campaign when they travel to St. Mirren Park on Sunday. After winning the Scottish League Cup against Rangers last week, Celtic will be motivated to continue their dominance in the Scottish Premiership. They comfortably sit at the top of the rankings with a 9-point lead as they look for back-to-back league titles. St. Mirren, the hosts, are ranked fifth, five points short of a top-three spot. They are the only team to defeat Celtic this season, courtesy of a 2-0 win in an earlier reverse fixture. The Saints will look to pose a tough test on home territory once again, but the league leaders will be eager to secure maximum points and maintain their handsome advantage in the rankings. Below, we look at the stats of both teams from the current season to see how this matchup could play out.
How have the teams performed?
The above viz shows the percentile rank of both teams compared with each other as well as with other teams in the league. Under all indicators, Celtic possesses a substantially higher percentile rank compared to St. Mirren. They are one of the best performers in the league, as evidenced by their top percentile rank in most of the attacking, passing, and defensive stats. Alternatively, the hosts have fared reasonably in attack and defence but have not been expansive in the possession department.
In the Scottish Premiership, St. Mirren have won ten and drawn seven out of 27 matches thus far. They have scored 29 goals and conceded 36 in total. The average xG rate of the team is 1.28, while their average xGA rate is 1.31. They bounced back from two consecutive defeats by winning against Ross County and then sharing points with St. Johnstone last week.
Meanwhile, Celtic have won 24 matches, dropping only five points out of a maximum of 78. The visiting side has the best attack in the league, having scored 82 goals while averaging 2.63 xG per match. They have conceded only 18 goals with an average xGA rate of 0.71, which makes it the best defensive record in Scotland. Currently, the Bhoys are on an incredible 19-game unbeaten streak and have won their last six league games in a row.
Attacking efficiency and xG per shot
Celtic are the most efficient side when it comes to the attacking department. The Bhoys launch 44.19 positional attacks and 1.5 counterattacks per match on average. Their efficiency rate for positional and counterattacking plays is the highest. A reason for this is the superior quality of Celtic’s squad, due to which they play much more expansive football compared to their opponents.
Meanwhile, St. Mirren creates 27.81 positional attacks and 2.33 counterattacks per match. In terms of attacking efficiency, they are among the lower-ranked teams for positional plays but rank fourth for counterattacks. They have done reasonably well going forward but have the lowest number of goal returns among the top six. We can expect the Celtics to be the aggressors in this match, with St.Mirren sitting back and trying to hit on the break.
Due to their seamless attacking play, Celtic takes 18.04 shots per match with an accuracy rate of 39.6%. Alternatively, St. Mirren takes 11.04 shots per match and has an accuracy rate of 30%. The above viz shows the difference between the two teams in terms of xG per shot. The hosts have an xG per shot of 0.13, whereas the visitors average 0.16 xG with each shot they take.
In the passing department, Celtic are the best passers of the ball in the Scottish Premiership, and they enjoy 69.19% of the possession share on average. Currently, the average number of passes per 90 minutes is 657, with an 87.5% accuracy rate. Alternatively, the Saints see 41% of the possessions per match. They attempt among the lowest number of passes in the league by passing the ball 270 times per 90 minutes with 72% accuracy. Celtic will be dictating the play in this fixture, while the hosts will focus on containing their attacking threats.
Key player for Celtic
Kyogo Furuhashi has been one of the best players in a Celtic shirt this season. With 19 goals to his name, he is the top scorer for his team as well as in the Scottish Premiership for 2022–23. The shot map above shows the attacking threat Furuhashi has to offer by taking most of his shots from the vicinity of the six-yard box. The 28-year-old has been a leading figure in Celtic’s front line, scoring important goals and helping his team assert their dominance.
Jonah Ayunga has been a big miss for St. Mirren since suffering a cruciate ligament rupture in January, which will keep him out until next season. The rest of the Saints’ first-team squad looks fit and ready to play. Meanwhile, Celtic are expected to be at full strength, with no known injuries or suspensions in their squad.
St. Mirren vs Celtic is going to be an intensely competitive fixture in the Scottish Premiership over the weekend. The Saints will look to finish the final third of the campaign on a strong note to improve their league position. Therefore, mounting another upset against the league leaders remains a possibility. The Bhoys, on the other hand, will want to extend their impressive record of collecting maximum points to maintain their handsome advantage in the bid for back-to-back titles.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine