The week of a Glasgow Derby always feels like a long and drawn-out procession, as Celtic and Rangers look to do battle when the two sides meet at the end of the week - in this case, Sunday.

However, this week feels different. You can already feel the weight of expectation in the air when you speak to members of either side, such is the magnitude of the latest instalment of one of the world’s greatest rivalries. Indeed, one point separates the two teams, as Celtic sit on top of the Scottish Premiership table, though Rangers hold a game in hand over their competitors. Celtic have 74 points, whilst Sunday’s hosts have 73 to their name.

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Celtic have won both previous derbies this season, with an aggregate score of 3-1 in favour of the champions. Despite this, the two clashes have been extremely close, with opportunities coming the way of both combatants in the historic rivalry. Kyogo Furuhashi has two goals, whilst both Paulo Bernardo and James Tavernier each have one conversion to their name.

With the two teams so tightly poised in this title race, who has the advantage going into this mammoth clash at Ibrox? In collaboration with data provider StatsBomb, The Celtic Way brings you the Glasgow Derby ‘Tale of the Tape’…


Let’s start with the attacking values and the percentiles that go along with these totals. As you would expect, both sides rank very strongly in these areas, given the players at their disposal and the strength in depth they possess in their respective squads. Still, there are some interesting findings, as both teams look to be on the front foot in this crucial match-up. Bear in mind that Rangers have only completed a total of 30 matches thus far, due to their match at Dens Park being postponed a couple of weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch. Whether or not this may have a potent bearing on the accumulated data is debatable, though it may be a factor.

Focusing on the positives for Brendan Rodgers’ side, on average, they post better expected goals (xG) numbers than Philippe Clement’s team this season. A figure of 2.10 has been calculated for the visitors to Ibrox, which places them in the 98th percentile out of 100. In the same matric, Rangers only manage 1.89 per 90 minutes, in the 95th percentile as a result of this. A reminder that this does not necessarily mean that they will score fewer goals than Celtic, though their great rivals seem to be getting in better positions and taking higher goalscoring shots as a result. Sticking with xG, Celtic have a higher xG per shot than their rivals, at a rate of 0.10 to 0.09 for each side. This has a big bearing on the percentile, as 0.01 of a difference has Celtic in the 76th percentile, compared to Rangers at 43, a big drop.

Elsewhere, Celtic’s set piece xG is higher than their derby counterparts, indicating a more dangerous team with corners and free-kicks than Rangers, at least on average. The statistics for this are close in both value and percentile, as Rodgers’ team is in the 96th percentile with 0.48 per game, whilst Clement’s side is on a respectable 0.41 at a lowered ranking of 92. Close, but Celtic take the win in this metric. They also perform better than their rivals in terms of high-press shots, which is when a strike is generated within five seconds of a turnover by the opposition, at a rate of 3.81 to 3.33, a positive percentile differential of seven in favour of Rodgers’ side.

However, there are some areas in which Clement’s rejuvenated Rangers do better than Sunday’s visitors to Ibrox. For example, the home side takes more shots than Celtic per 90 minutes, appearing in the 99th percentile at an average of 21.00, compared to their rivals’ 20.23 shots in the 98th percentile. They also generate more shots on the counterattack, managing 1.40 per game, whilst Celtic only generate 1.06 per contest. In turn, Rangers have a percentile placing of 83, a whole 27 places higher than their opponents at 56. Though both are in the 92nd percentile, Rangers managed a minuscule amount of clear shots more than Celtic at 3.23 compared to 3.19.

Looking at the exact number of goals scored this season in the Scottish Premiership, Celtic are top with 74 this season in the league. As expected, Rangers are second with 67, seven behind their rivals. Overall, not a lot between the two sides in an attacking sense, which points to both a stabilisation at Rangers due to Clement and a slight regression from Ange Postecoglou to Rodgers at Celtic.


This is where the comparisons between the two teams start to favour the Ibrox side, as Rangers seem to be better at defending in the eyes of StatsBomb. This first is apparent in the xG conceded for both teams, as Celtic’s total is higher at 0.78, compared to Rangers’ 0.57, which in turn is a negative result. Though in the 92nd percentile, Celtic find themselves six percentile points lower than Rangers, who are 98th out of 100 in the same metric.

This also rings true with the xG per shot conceded, which is a high 0.10 for Celtic and 0.08 for their rivals, a massive percentile differential of 44 between the two clubs. Furthermore, Celtic concede more xG in both counterattacking and set pieces, in the 79th and 74th percentile each, compared to 89 and 87 for Rangers.

A lot of negative findings for Celtic on the defensive end of proceedings, but there are some green (and white) shoots of recovery for Rodgers’ back-line. Indeed, they concede fewer clear shots than their opponents at a rate of 1.10 to 1.37, a percentile difference of four in favour of the visitors. Similarly, Celtic force the opposition into making mistakes in possession, with their opponent’s passing sitting at 67 per cent compared to Rangers’ total of 69, in turn, four percentile ranks higher.

Both sides share the same aggression stat of 0.23, which is the proportion of their opponents’ actions that are tackled, fouled or pressured within two seconds of transpiring. Finally, Celtic have a lower rate of passes per defensive action – a positive – at 6.41, compared to Rangers’ 6.89, again a differential of four in percentile.

Regarding the exact goals conceded by Celtic and Rangers this season, it makes for poor reading when comparing the two. As much as Celtic have scored more goals this campaign, they have conceded six more than their opponents, at a rate of 23 to 17 respectively. With the goal difference sitting at one in favour of Celtic, this makes sense.


In conclusion, the ‘Tale of the Tape’ has both teams in close proximity to one another in multiple metrics. It is clear that Celtic – at least statistically – are more dangerous than Rangers, though their rivals are slightly better defensively when push comes to shove.

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Many people have labelled this as the biggest derby in years and judging by league placings and the points differential between the two sides, that belief very much rings true. If there is to be a winner, you would think that this result would go a long way into deciding the destination of the Scottish Premiership trophy.

This match – and league - is truly all to play for. To the victor, the spoils.