Celtic defeated Hibernian 2-1 at Easter Road, in what could be a massive win in the context of the season for the club.

Following an early injury to Alistair Johnston in the box, Brendan Rodgers’ side was awarded an early penalty. Entrusted with the spot-kick, Adam Idah slammed the ball home from 12 yards on his first start, on what was only his second appearance for the club. In a first half filled with precious few chances, Hibs’ Elie Youan had the better chance of the two sides, though his shot was expertly blocked and sent over the bar by Liam Scales.

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Just minutes after Idah had a golden opportunity to double Celtic’s lead in the second half, Dylan Levitt equalised for the hosts with a well-taken strike from range. Hibs would then push hard for a winner, forcing some great saves out of Joe Hart, before Celtic were awarded another penalty kick in injury time, following a VAR review. The same man stepped up and slid the ball past David Marshall in the home side’s goal to restore their lead. Despite riding their luck, Celtic and Rodgers held on to claim victory in the capital, the latter’s first win in Leith.

Celtic made a few changes from the team that started at Pittodrie. Stephen Welsh replaced Maik Nawrocki in the defence, whilst Nicolas Kuhn and Daizen Maeda were preferred ahead of Liel Abada and Luis Palma respectively. Up top, Idah went in ahead of Kyogo Furuhashi, as the on-loan striker was trusted to provide the goals on a cold winter’s night at Easter Road. The midfield remained unchanged, with captain Callum McGregor joined by Paulo Bernardo and Matt O’Riley in the engine room.

Using StatsBomb, The Celtic Way picks out the best data to bring you a match report like no other…

Shooting + xG

When observing the race chart regarding xG totals, Celtic had a 68 per cent chance of winning Wednesday’s game with the chances they created, with the home side sitting at 12 per cent despite making more opportunities in the match. A draw scenario made up the remaining 20 per cent.

For Celtic, their top shooter on the day was their striker Idah, who made up half of their overall shots at goal. His accumulated xG for those four shots was 1.90, by far the highest total for both sides, though this may be overinflated due to the high-xG nature of penalties in the eyes of our statistical provider. Elsewhere, O’Riley managed two shots at a combined 0.19 in total xG, whilst Bernardo and Scales both registered a solitary shot each, scoring 0.03 and 0.08 respectively in xG.

Looking at the visitors' shot map, it makes for painful reading/viewing if you are a fan of attacking and free-flowing football. Perhaps one of the barest maps so far this season, it highlights just how few chances Celtic created on the night. The square at the 12-yard spot represents two penalties - which were by far the two best chances on the night – that were both expertly dispatched by Idah. Apart from these, the two close chances near the keeper’s box were squandered by O’Riley and Idah, as Celtic’s wastefulness on their travels continued. Bernardo and O’Riley’s speculative efforts from range were dealt with easily by the home side on the night.

Possession + passing

Celtic dominated the ball during this game, as they had 63 per cent possession during this contest, with the home side only managing 37 per cent. The visitors also outpassed their hosts, as they completed 556 passes to 270, at a percentage of 84 per cent to 71 for their opponents.

The curious case of Alexandro Bernabei continues, as his Jekyll and Hyde performances persisted for yet another matchday. Despite this up-and-down way of playing, the Argentina left-back contributed the most key passes for his side – albeit two – in their victory. His combined passes had a cumulative score of 0.23 in xG, whilst Palma, Bernardo and Scales had one each, the former with the highest single xG of 0.21.

StatsBomb uses OBV (On Ball Values) to calculate players’ usefulness with the ball at their feet. The passing network gives a rough idea of where the majority of the game was played and who was the most involved. Remember that the warmer the colour, the more influential the player was in the game, 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 of which can be read here).

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Looking at the passing network for this game in the case of Celtic, Scales seems to be the club’s top OBV contributor with the warm colouring on the diagram. This checks out in statistics, too as he topped both sides for OBV with 0.88 for 121 passes. Welsh was next-best, albeit with a far-lower 0.11 for 92 passes, whilst Bernabei’s 53 passes placed him third with 0.10 in total. Bernardo, Maeda, Kuhn and Idah all had negative OBV chartings for this match.

Looking at the passing network diagram again, it is clear that Scales was trying to distribute the ball around the pitch, though the thick lines between him and Welsh show that a lot of the passes were getting played sideways to each other. Idah – much like Kyogo before him – cut a lonely figure up front.


In terms of the conceded goal, Celtic could do little with Levitt’s strike, as it was well-taken from range with pinpoint accuracy. Still, Hart made a couple of impeccable saves, which kept the game on level terms when the home side were pushing for a winner of their own. Indeed, he made three big saves in total during the match, with Hibs’ other strike their goal from the aforementioned Levitt.

Wholistically, Celtic’s best defensive player on the night in terms of volume was Anthony Ralston, who came on for the injured Johnston after nine minutes played. With a combined seven total tackles and interceptions, he dug in deep to get his team ahead. One of his tackles – a sliding effort against Youan – was instrumental in the build-up to Celtic’s second awarded penalty, as momentum swung with the visitors following the challenge, which was as clean as a whistle. Add three clearances to his impressive defensive stat-line, and you have a late nominee for player of the match.

READ MORE: Detailed Celtic player ratings as Idah steals the show

Despite not making a tackle, Scales had seven clearances and six aerial wins for his side on the night, an aerial success rate of 86 per cent. Not forgetting Bernabei, as the all-action full-back had four combined tackles and interceptions, as well as three dribbles. You have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to the Argentinian, but you cannot doubt his effort and graft when selected. Although he came on late in the game, Nawrocki managed four clearances and two interceptions. With Welsh hobbling off injured, he may well be back in the starting line-up on Sunday afternoon.