Celtic were beaten 3-0 by Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday, in just their second defeat this season in the Scottish Premiership.

It was a nightmare start for the visitors, who conceded early to a Todd Cantwell strike. After missing a gilt-edged chance through Hyeon-gyu Oh, the hosts then doubled their advantage through John Souttar, before Fashion Sakala added to their lead in the second half. It was a miserable day for the recently-crowned champions.


Celtic made three changes from the side that beat Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle the week prior, with Alexandro Bernabei handed a rare start at left-back ahead of regular Greg Taylor. Liel Abada made a return to the starting line-up in place of Daizen Maeda, and it was Oh who led the line ahead of Kyogo Furuhashi.

Despite these changes, it was a largely unchanged team in many of the key areas, including all of the midfield and the centre of defence. Yuki Kobayashi continued his recent run of games alongside Carl Starfelt in defence, whilst captain Callum McGregor was accompanied by Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley in midfield. Jota was the only attacker who retained his place from the victory at Hearts.

Here, The Celtic Way rounds up the best StatsBomb data from the game to give you a match report like no other…



It was a fast start by Rangers, and this is reflected in the chart and in xG, racking up 0.34 xG in the opening five minutes. An early Ryan Jack chance was blocked by Starfelt (0.03 xG), followed by a header from Rabbi Matondo which went wide (0.11 xG).

The opening goal came from a rebound that Cantwell converted, following an accurate shot from outside the box by John Lundstram (0.03 xG) which Joe Hart parried. The midfielder was quickest to react, and slotted the ball beyond the England goalkeeper. 

Celtic, however, responded almost instantly through Oh just two minutes later. Abada crossed the ball into the path of the South Korea striker, who chipped Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, with his shot clipping the post and staying out. This chance was the best of the game to that point in terms of xG at 0.32.


This opportunity was followed by two from Matt O’Riley (0.10 xG) and Liel Abada (0.11 xG), both of which were blocked respectively.

READ MORE: Premiership champions Celtic fail to turn up against Rangers at Ibrox

Following a speculative effort from midfielder Hatate (0.04 xG), it was the home side who doubled their advantage through Souttar. The defender outmuscled Kobayashi and headered the ball past Hart, who remained rooted to the spot. This goal had an xG of 0.08, but a PSxG (post-shot expected goal) of 0.41, indicating the quality of the Scotland defender’s attempt on goal after making contact with the ball.

This was to be the last chance of the half, with Celtic surprisingly ahead in terms of xG at the break with a score of 0.54 to Rangers’ 0.48 despite being two goals to the good down in the actual scoreline. Despite having arguably created the better chances, Celtic would come to rue their wastefulness in front of goal.


Indeed, Celtic’s best chance in terms of xG would come in the second half through an O’Riley fast break. The Denmark midfielder intercepted the ball from Jack and advanced up the park with it, before taking a shot which was saved by McCrorie. This chance earned a 0.35 xG ranking.

The home side would seal the game in the 70th minute, however, through Sakala. After a defensive mix-up between McGregor and Starfelt, the Zambian forward found himself one-on-one with Hart. He rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty net, with what ended up a 0.82xG chance.

Our data provider calculated that the game was scored 1.58-0.98 on the xG front, concluding that the better team won on the day, even if outside of Sakala's chance, neither team created many clear openings. 

Celtic had just eight shots on goal in this game, with only one of those being on target through O’Riley’s fast break. Both this and Oh’s earlier chance transpired in and around the same area of the box, indicating some relative success was found when attacking this particular sector.


Celtic take on average a total of 18.23 shots per 90 minutes, and average 2.10 in terms of xG, these figures highlight just how much of an off day the visitors had in front of goal.


Conversely, Rangers had 16 shots at goal, with eight of those being on target in what was a busy day for Hart in the Celtic goal.

Rangers take an average of 19.51 shots per game, so the home side were performing close to their usual in terms of this metric. They also have an average xG of 1.94, with their three goals highlighting a slight overperformance.


Hatate and O’Riley were Celtic’s busiest attackers in terms of shots, with the midfielders each taking two respectively. Thanks to having Celtic’s best chance in terms of numbers, O’Riley clocked up the highest xG in the team with 0.42, compared to Hatate’s 0.05.


For the home side, Lundstram and Matondo were Rangers’ most potent attackers, each taking three shots. Their most efficient attacker was Sakala, who scored one goal with his two shots, in turn accumulating an xG of 0.88.

Possession, passing & positions

Despite the scoreline being heavily weighted in Rangers’ favour, it was Celtic who enjoyed the majority of possession, as is the case in virtually all the games they play. The visitors had 67 per cent of the ball, completing 543 of their 641 attempted passes, an 85 per cent success rate. The home side, meanwhile, only had 33 per cent possession, completing 228 of their 315 passes at a success rate of 72 per cent.


The passing network gives a rough idea of where the game was played and who was the most involved in that game. Remember, the warmer the colour, the more influential the player and the thicker the passing lines, the more passes between the players.

StatsBomb measures pass contributions in on-ball value (often referred to as OBV, a term breakdown can be read here)

For Celtic, Abada was the standout with regards to OBV, accumulating 0.18 in just 14 passes, the next highest was Starfelt with 0.12 in a much-higher 103 passes. Surprisingly, O’Riley had a really poor offering in the eyes of the OBV metrics, scoring -0.25 with 24 passes, alongside Jota, who also scored poorly with -0.06 in 26 passes.

READ MORE: Celtic fringe men showed Ange in defeat to Rangers

The home side had the highest OBV earner in Sakala, who scored 0.23 OBV in just 19 passes, though their numbers were not as evenly distributed as Celtic’s, as the next highest was Tavernier on just 0.05 on 15 passes. Ridvan Yilmaz fared the poorest in the Rangers side, with the left-back scoring -0.07 on 14 passes, the next poorest being Jack on -0.02 with 16 passes.

Celtic’s passing network from their 11 starters in this game indicates that a lot of their joy was coming down the right-hand side of the pitch, with Starfelt, Anthony Ralston and Abada all displaying warmer colours in terms of OBV effectiveness. O’Riley’s colder colour displays his ineffectiveness with regards to OBV in this particular game, a surprise given recent performances.

Apart from Sakala, the home side has virtually no players in the warmer regions of OBV.


Ralston led the key passers stat for Celtic with two on an xG of 0.13, but the most efficient player was Abada with 0.32 xG off of his single key pass, the through ball which led to Oh’s chance in the first half. Sead Haksabanovic contributed a single key pass off of the bench, with a score of 0.02 for his effort. O’Riley also managed one key pass, with his accumulating 0.06 in xG score.


Tavernier and Sakala each contributed three key passes, scoring 0.14 and 0.17 respectively in xG. Glen Kamara, Connor Goldson and Jack also contributed one key pass each.

Pressing and defending



Celtic initialised 146 pressures compared to Rangers’ 234. The home side managed to regain the ball from pressures 53 times compared to the visitors’ 28, completing almost double the regains of their opponents.

Bernabei was top of the pressures chart with 25, ousting the regular forefront pressure candidate O’Riley who still had an impressive 20, with Jota closely behind on 17.

Nicolas Raskin had the highest pressing statistics across both teams, with the Belgium midfielder completing 37, followed closely by Cantwell, who was one behind on 36. Sakala and Lundstram managed 33 and 30 respectively, with Tavernier finishing on 27 pressures, indicating the difference in approaches from the two sides in this regard, although this largely owes to Celtic being dominant on the ball.

On the defensive end of things, Starfelt, Kobayashi and Ralston all managed to contribute four each regarding tackles and interceptions, the joint highest for this statistic involving Celtic players. Despite his height, Bernabei scored the highest percentage in terms of aerial duels, winning 60 per cent of them, the highest in the team. It was a tough day for Glasgow Derby debutant Kobayashi, who only won 40 per cent of his duels in the process.

Overall in a dominant season, this was a day to forget for Postecoglou's men.