Celtic have won the 2021-22 Scottish Premiership title over their bitter rivals Rangers. As a result, the Hoops have qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2017-18 season. When Ange Postecoglou was appointed as the coach in the summer of 2021, many Hoops fans had doubts if they could get the Premiership back from Rangers. It is safe to say that the Greek-born Australian has proved his doubters wrong. His next challenge will be to take Celtic to the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time since the 2012-13 season. In this article, we will review Celtic’s season.
Celtic may have won the Premiership title, but it was not as good as some of the all-time great Scottish teams of the past. The Hoops won the league unbeaten in 2016-17 under Brendan Rodgers, which was more impressive than this season’s crown. But given the context that Rangers accomplished the same last season under Steven Gerrard, the job done by Postecoglou has been commendable. But when looking at xG, Celtic have underperformed on this metric. The Hoops have scored 92 goals this season, which is two below expected. But the defence has slightly overperformed, allowing 22 goals against an xGA of 24.
Above is the shot map of Celtic in this Scottish Premiership season, excluding the penalties. Four Celtic players have reached double figures this season – Giorgos Giakoumakis, Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Jota. The Greek man, Giorgos Giakoumakis, has finished as the joint-top goalscorer in the league this season, along with Regan Charles-Cook of Ross County. Celtic have scored 91 goals (own goals excluded) from 757 shots, averaging 8.32 shots per goal scored.
Midfielder David Turnbull has been the most successful threat creator for Celtic this season from open play as well as in overall threat. However, Jota and Anthony Ralston are the joint leaders in assists for the team, with nine each to their name. The majority of the threat creation has come from the right wing, with Ralston bombarding forward and making overlapping runs.
Seen in the above visual are the ranks of Celtic in important categories in this Scottish Premiership season. The percentiles and ranks may look very impressive, but we will focus on ‘per 90’ stats. The Hoops have underperformed on their xG per 90 of 2.34 by netting 2.26 goals per 90. They have also underachieved on their xA per 90 of 1.47 by having 1.39 assists per 90. The only category where they are below average is the long ball success rate. But keep in mind that facing teams in the Scottish Premiership is drastically different from facing teams in the UEFA Champions League.
Barring a miracle, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic may not qualify from the group stages of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League. The best they can hope for is to finish third and get transferred to the Europa League.