We look at the StatsBomb and WyScout data from Celtic’s 4-3 Europa League Group E defeat against Real Betis to give you a match report experience like no other.

Possession and passing

Despite Betis’ genuine passing acumen, Celtic actually enjoyed the lion’s share of possession with just under 60 per cent. To put that into context, Ange Postecoglou’s men had around 50 per cent of the ball across the two qualifying legs against AZ Alkmaar, meaning they theoretically found it somewhat easier to play their game in Seville than against the Dutch side in either leg. That they managed this with several first-team absentees is to the team's credit.

Celtic Way:

Overall the Hoops played 573 passes with 86 per cent accuracy compared to the hosts’ 391 (81 per cent). Postecoglou will no doubt be content that his men continued to carry out their gameplan even after giving up the two-goal lead, with the team keeping long passes to a minimum.

Indeed, another of our stats providers, WyScout, noted Celtic played almost 50 balls into the final third at 80 per cent accuracy as well as creating 11 shot assists in total. That the Hoops could only muster two accurate ‘smart passes’ in the game compared to Betis’ five will rankle.

Celtic Way:

Individually, Jota played a joint game-high four key passes. David Turnbull linked with the Portuguese winger particularly well with 11 passes (0.88 xG) while the most common passing combination in the match was Carl Starfelt to Cameron Carter-Vickers (16).

Average positions

From Celtic’s average positions it is worth noting the full-backs – Josip Juranovic and Anthony Ralston – occupying in-field areas as has been a regular feature of Postecoglou’s system since his arrival.

Celtic Way:

Both Tom Rogic and Turnbull, naturally forward-thinking players, inhabited progressive positions in general with Ismaila Soro the sole defensive midfielder. Celtic’s only substitute, James McCarthy, frequented much the same area as Soro after his entry onto the pitch.


StatsBomb's pressure heatmaps for both teams aren't too dissimilar overall with lots of intensity on the flanks and Celtic's attacking midfield area.

Individually, Turnbull topped the charts for pressures with 20 (Betis forward Juanmi was overall leader with 24) while Ajeti was next up with 18 followed by Adam Montgomery with 16. In terms of counter-pressing, Rogic led the way across both sides with seven. 

Celtic Way:  Celtic Way:

Turning to WyScout data, Betis came away with the more intense pressing stats (remember the lower the number on the PPDA table, the better the team is doing in high pressing).

Celtic Way:

Celtic’s average PPDA in competitive games so far this season stands at 8.58, so they were slightly below their usual standard which is to be expected given the high-calibre absentees for this match. Again, the outlier of the Hoops’ season so far has been the AZ ties in this respect, with a PPDA figure of 10 or higher in both legs.

Shots and saves

Celtic were the marginally more threatening team. The xG race chart (below) shows the Hoops garnered a cumulative xG value of 2.54, meaning they slightly overperformed by scoring three times. Based on xG, Celtic would have avoided defeat in this match almost 67 per cent of the time.

Celtic Way:

They were noticeably more creative during the opening 45 minutes but still managed to conjure up better opportunities than Betis in both halves regardless, with Albian Ajeti successfully converting the best of these from open play with his 13th-minute goal (0.62 xG) from one of Jota's game-high eight crosses. 

WATCH: Where do Celtic need to improve in defence after defeat to Real Betis?

In terms of the shots Celtic managed to get off, Postecoglou will probably be happier than he was against Ross County last time out. The sought-after centrality of shot locations moved back in the right direction while the number of long-distance strikes was reduced too. 

Celtic Way:

When it comes to shots conceded, the Hoops gave up 16 attempts with the best of those being Juanmi's 0.91 xG tap-in to put Betis 3-2 up. 

Of those 16 shots allowed, eight were on target. Joe Hart saved four of them including two midway through the first half which - despite the ultimate concession of four goals - kept Celtic's 1-0 lead intact at the time.

Celtic Way:

Player focus: Albian Ajeti

While the Swiss striker is quite clearly at home in the middle of the box, and indeed scored from such a position for the third time in two games, he showed a willingness to get involved in the 'dirty side' against Betis.

In addition to his goal, Ajeti took the most shots (five), had a match-high 14 touches inside the area and, crucially, won a penalty for Juranovic to stick away.

Celtic Way:

However, what sticks out just as much is his improved work-rate with 18 total pressures - as well as the accompanying team-high pressure duration - and three interceptions. The latter was by far the most for any Celtic offensive player.