Celtic were defeated 2-0 by Hearts yesterday, as Brendan Rodgers’ side squandered a big chance to climb back to the top of the table following Rangers’ surprise home defeat the day prior.

They had an early opportunity to go in front, following Yang Hyun-jun being adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Alex Cochrane. Adam Idah stepped up to take the spot-kick, though it was saved by the feet of Zander Clark in the Hearts goal. Yang was involved again with Cochrane, though the South Korean international was given his marching orders following a VAR check for serious foul play.

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Following a dubious hand-ball call from the referee and his VAR team on Tomoki Iwata, Jorge Grant would convert his opportunity, before Lawrence Shankland scored after the break to confirm the points for the home side, following a catalogue of errors by Celtic at the back. Celtic had chances in both halves, but could not find the net legally, with their only converted strike ruled out for offside in the build-up concerning Idah.

In partnership with StatsBomb, The Celtic Way brings you the best metrics, data and statistical talking points from yesterday’s disappointing trip to the capital…

Trendline, xG and stats

Despite being a man down for the majority of proceedings, Celtic had more of the ball than their opponents, at a rate of 52 to 48 in percentages respectively. They had more shots than Hearts, though the same amount of those were on target for both sides. They outpassed the home side also, with a higher pass completion to boot. Perhaps the scoreline and outcome would have been different if it stayed 11v11 for the duration of the proceedings.

Amazingly, given both teams' chances, Celtic were given a 52 per cent chance of winning the match due to their xG score. A draw was scored at 26 per cent and a home win was 22 per cent, which turned out to be the case. Celtic’s xG was 2.29, whilst Hearts only had 1.63, showing that the home side overperformed and the opposite for the visitors to Tynecastle. A disappointing day at the office for Rodgers’ men, despite the numerous VAR interventions present in yesterday’s game.

Team line-up and positions

As has been the case recently, Celtic went for an unchanged 4-3-3 formation. Apart from the injury to Callum McGregor which looks to rule the captain out of the side until the international break – allowing for Paulo Bernardo to return to the fold - Celtic named an unchanged line-up heading into this important match. Iwata occupied the number six role for the third straight game, as Yang was preferred ahead of the likes of Nicolas Kuhn and Luis Palma. Idah led the line in place of Kyogo Furuhashi, as Liam Scales managed to hold off competition from Stephen Welsh to play alongside the fully-fit Cameron Carter-Vickers in defence. Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor occupied their respective wings, as Daizen Maeda tried to supply width from the left flank.

As expected, Celtic were getting a lot of joy down the right-hand side of the pitch, as shown by Johnston and Matt O’Riley’s red circles, which indicate positive OBV (on-ball value) performances for both players. The differential between both sides in terms of shades is eye-catching, as the left is filled with colder indicators, whilst the right is warmer. Had Yang not been sent off, you would expect the winger to have put up a good OBV score himself.

0.23 and 0.19 in OBV scores for Johnston and O’Riley respectively in this game, as they were Celtic’s top performers in this metric. Cochrane had the highest total overall, with a staggering 0.87 for just 30 of his passes. Indeed, the full-back’s score was higher than the entire Celtic team on the day combined, a frightening statistic.


Observing Celtic’s shot map for this game shows a frustrating tale of events in front of goal. Kyogo’s chance in the second half was the biggest chance from open play, whilst Idah’s penalty was a golden opportunity to go in front early on, which was not taken. The spluttering of shots outside of the box indicates a desperation to get back on the scoresheet in proceedings, something that did not materialise on the day whatsoever.

Idah had the most shots in the game for both teams, managing seven in total, one more than Shankland’s six. Despite being a substitute, Kyogo was second on the chart with three of his own, with Iwata not far behind him on two.

A big chance at 0.38 on xG, Kyogo’s PSxG stood at 0.58, though it was well-saved by Scotland international Clark in goals. You get the notion that an in-form Kyogo would have buried this chance, though it may well have only been a consolation in the grand scheme of things.

Passing, pressing and defending

O’Riley was Celtic’s top distributor in terms of key passes, managing six over the course of the 90 minutes. Johnston managed two, as Kyogo, Iwata and Maeda all had one to their name in proceedings. A standout performance in this metric from O’Riley, and one that he can build on, despite the scoreline.

Hearts had more pressures in the game – though only a difference of five – at 185-180 in favour of the home side, though Celtic had more pressure regains at a total of 36 for the visitors. Maeda had the most pressures in the game with 38, with Idah contributing 22 of his own to the contest. The striker had eight counterpressures alongside O’Riley, whilst Maeda had seven. A shoutout to substitute Daniel Kelly, who had six despite limited game-time.

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On the defensive end, Iwata, Kyogo and O’Riley had three tackles and interceptions combined each. Scales had seven clearances, with the next highest being Iwata with three. The defender won five aerial duels, as did his fellow Irishman Idah up front. A disappointing day all round for Rodgers' side on both ends, though nothing was lost or gained after a whirlwind weekend in the Scottish Premiership.