A couple of weeks ago – armed with the statistical power of data provider StatsBomb – I investigated some of Ange Postecoglou’s star pupils, and how they were coping analytically with his successor in Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side.

Indeed, the results were mostly positive, indicating a gradual improvement in individuals such as Matt O’Riley, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston, whilst Kyogo Furuhashi was the notable exception to this trend. Of course, new additions have since joined the club to supplement this familiar crowd of players, making it a different team from the one Postecoglou left when going down south to Tottenham Hotspur.

Still, it is always interesting to compare and contrast the two differing playstyles and methodologies that Postecoglou and Rodgers have tried to implement into the Celtic squad’s psyche. Using personalised StatsBomb radars once again – and by separating home and away matches – we compare both managers’ statistical results to gauge how Rodgers is getting on compared to his predecessor…

Home matches

As you know, Celtic tend to dominate the ball in the Scottish Premiership, especially at home in front of their supporters. Both Postecoglou and Rodgers have implemented styles that complement this advantage, which perhaps is down to Celtic’s ability to attract and afford players of a higher standard than the majority of their opponents. When observing the StatsBomb radar specifically for home games, it is clear that the club prides itself on keeping a hold of the ball. Under Postecoglou last season, the average possession was clocked at 71 per cent, which has risen to 73 per cent under the returning Rodgers. Both percentages rank in the 99th percentile, with the slight increase this season indicating that Celtic have even more control in home games when compared to Postecoglou’s playstyle.

Another facet of Celtic’s game is that of a high passing percentage, which has consistently stayed the same on average when compared to last season at home. Statistically, the percentage has stagnated at 86 per cent at Celtic Park for passing accuracy for both 2022/23 and 2023/24 so far, with plenty of time to improve on that average in the second half of the season. There have been steady positive increases in other metrics, too, with Rodgers’ form at home being pretty good for the most part.

Not content with sitting off of their opponents when they do not have possession of the ball, Celtic’s pressure numbers have improved under Rodgers, too. This season – despite only being in the 26th percentile – Celtic have upped their pressures per game from 111.95 to 132.91, despite having even more possession this campaign compared to last. They also average more counterpressures, too, with their 31.29 per 90 minutes under Postecoglou at home increasing to 36.64, in turn skyrocketing the team from 61 to 90 in percentile rankings.

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Despite scoring fewer goals at home compared to Postecoglou’s well-oiled 2022/23 Celtic machine (2.45 compared to 3.00, a percentile drop of three from 99 to 96), Rodgers’ side takes more shots (20.64 increased from 18.32), concedes fewer goals (0.89 decreased to 0.82) and faces fewer shots as a whole (5.91 compared to 6.82), with the latter metric aligning itself in the 100th percentile. Quite an achievement, especially when many sectors of the support reckon that Celtic have regressed under the former Liverpool and Leicester City manager.

If there is one area that Rodgers needs to improve on, then it is that of set pieces, on both ends of the pitch. Both Celtic’s attacking and defending in these situations have indeed regressed, especially when compared to Postecoglou’s reign. Not necessarily known for his defensive coaching, the Australian had Celtic well-drilled at home when facing set pieces, such as corners or free kicks. Evidence of this is the goals conceded via these scenarios, which have negatively risen from 0.16 last season to 0.45 per game at home in this campaign, a percentile drop of 61 in the process. On the attacking side of proceedings, Celtic have decreased concerning set-piece goals, as their 0.53 per game has lowered to 0.36, and a percentile drop of 16.

Ending on a positive metric, Celtic’s deep progressions have increased, while their opposition’s number has dropped in the process. Averaging 75.45 last campaign, this season’s total so far is 87.55, though both totals are 99th in percentile ratings. For their opponents, 22.84 last season has decreased to 19.45, achieving a 100th percentile due to this improvement.

Away matches

If we are being completely honest, Celtic’s statistics are overall not as good away from home, which is understandable, given a lack of home-court advantage.

Despite this admission, there are some positives to be found in the statistical data. For example, Rodgers’ side concede fewer goals than under Postecoglou, at a rate of 0.55 per game compared to 0.89 the season prior (88 to 97 in percentile ranking). The incumbent side also take more shots this season compared to last, averaging 22.27 in the 99th percentile.

Despite taking more shots this campaign away from home, Rodgers’ side concede more on their travels on the other end of the pitch, allowing 9.27 strikes to come their way, with the figure sitting at just 6.82 the season previous. In turn, this meant that a high percentile of 98 dropped nine places to 89 in the process.

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Celtic’s passing has also taken a negative hit away from home in subsequent seasons, dropping from 86 per cent to 83, a nine per cent drop in percentile ranking. Their opponents’ passing has improved – potentially as a result of this – as the percentage has risen from 65 to 68 per cent. 95 in percentile is still a good metric total, though it shows that teams seem to be having their way in terms of getting their own passing game going. Celtic’s average possession percentage has dropped from last season, too, standing at 66 per cent presently. The figure was 71 per cent the year before, dropping by a single percentile point despite decreasing by five per cent.

As described in the home percentages, set pieces are a major area of the game where Celtic must improve on, especially as they head into the business end of the season. Away from home this season, they only score 0.18 set-piece goals per game, a figure that has decreased by 0.35 when comparing managerial reigns. From 94 to 33 in just a season for percentile rankings, Celtic must do better on corners and free kicks, especially on their travels. There is one positive concerning free kicks and corners, however, as they concede only 0.09 set-piece goals per 90 minutes, a positive decrease of 0.07 and a rise of nine.

Despite having lots of joy at home concerning deep progression from themselves or by stopping their opponents, Celtic are not as successful in this metric away from home. Managing 75.45 last season, this figure has decreased to 64.91. For the opposition, they have improved against Rodgers’ team, now averaging 26.91 deep progressions at home.


Overall, the theory that Celtic have completely regressed under Rodgers compared to Postecoglou is completely unfounded, at least statistically. Yes, there are some areas where the club can improve – particularly away from home – but there are more positives than negatives at this stage.

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With Celtic on the hunt to retain the remaining two trophies currently in their possession, it will be up to Rodgers to ensure that success will be duly delivered. Ross County at home presents the first league challenge to the manager and his players. Here’s hoping they get off to a flier against the Staggies on Saturday afternoon at Celtic Park…