What a way to start the New Year with an Old Firm Derby. Celtic lead Rangers by 9 points in the league going into 2023, so the Ibrox crowd will be hopeful this clash begins their claw back of that mammoth gap. The Hoops have dropped points just once this term, but form can always go out the window in derbies like this.
You may not get as much data available in Scottish football, but I’ve sure scoured the league for numbers. The pack below still includes predicted lineups, goals, assists, shots, corners, and cards for both teams and the players. If you’re unsure as to how to use the data for your bet builders, then make sure to check out my Stats Pack Guide first.
Following four wins from his first four, new boss Michael Beale leads out his squad for the first time against the Celts, and will likely make little changes to the side that beat Motherwell 3-0.
Since his reign began, injuries have been an issue with the likes of John Lundstram filling in at centre-back, although James Sands has returned to the team. Morelos also limped off with a suspected hamstring issue but should be fit enough to start.
Ange Postecoglou is expected to keep his side much the same on the back of their 4-0 thumping in Edinburgh against Hibernian. Aaron Mooy notched twice and will man the midfield.
Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada are set to keep their spots, with Jota potentially slotting in for Daizen Maeda despite the Japanese international scoring against Hibs. November’s SPFL Player of the Month Sead Haksabanovic is set to be sidelined by a foot injury, while Josip Juranovic may return from the World Cup in his spot currently covered by Reo Hatate.
The two Glasgow sides have long outshone their league, and their stats are heavily skewed. The Gers have racked up 19.32 shots to their opponents’ 6.58, and that has helped them record an xG of 2.31 and an xGA of just 0.94.
Stats are tough to be interpreted for a game where they are likely to be much more evenly matched. In their last meeting, Rangers took 4 corners to Celtic’s 3, and they each had 3 scores in the referee’s book.
Celtic’s numbers are even more impressive, and you can tell they have 18 wins from 19. Clinical finishing means they’ve outshone their own xG with 3.21 goals scored a game.
Even against Rangers earlier in the season, they swept aside their opposition in a 4-0 thrashing at Celtic Park, in which they registered 15 shots (6 on target) to Rangers’ 11 (2 on target).
Player shots and shots on target
Alfredo Morelos dominates this department for the hosts, and the bookies have spotted that pricing him at 1.30 for a shot on target (Betfair).
The likes of Scott Arfield and James Tavernier have both registered over a shot on target p/90 and represent outside value options at 1.83 and 2.0 for an attempt on target respectively.
Giorgos Giakoumakis may look worlds apart from his teammates for shots, but his stats are skewed by playing an average of 39 minutes per appearance and he is unlikely to start.
Liel Abada has register 2 or more shots in each of his last 3 home games, and is ranked at 1.44 for that selection to land. Matt O’Riley has also attempted 2.67 shots per 90 minutes of action and is priced at 1.73 for 2+ shots.
Player goals and assists
Rangers failed to get on the scoresheet against Celtic last time out, but have managed a goal at the Ibrox in every one of their fixtures this season. Antonio Colak is the obvious candidate for a goal, although his starting birth is likely to be taken by Alfredo Morelos.
In terms of goal contributions, James Tavernier (11) and Malik Tillman (8) are the standouts and it’s clear to see that much of the attacking threat comes down the right. I can’t help but see Malik Tillman at 3.0 to score or assist as a bit of value.
Kyogo Furuhashi has had some season so far – 14 goals and an assist in 17 run outs – registering a goal contribution every 71 minutes.
Jota and Liel Abada have also broken double figures for goal contributions and are standouts in that front three. Both wingers scored in the previous match against Rangers.
Connor Goldson alongside James Sands are the obvious candidates for cards having received 7 between them. The former received a card the last time the two sides met.
Malik Tillman also got in the book in that game and has continued to average almost two fouls every 90 minutes of hard-fought action. John Lundstram tops the charts though and has received 5 cards so far and is always a fun one to back.
You can see why Tillman grabbed a card against Celtic, given he was up against Greg Taylor at left-back – who of the probable starters is fouled the most (1.39). Tillman also was scribbled into the ref’s notepad against Motherwell along with Lundstram.
With so many match-ups to watch, I couldn’t even narrow it down to three.
Match-ups to watch:
Malik Tillman vs Greg Taylor
John Lundstram vs Matt O’Riley
Connor Goldson vs Jota
James Sands vs Kyogo Furuhashi
Last time the sides met, both centre-backs Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers were booked, and will both have many suitors for a card here this time.
With the referee John Beaton racking up a healthy 4.78 cards a game, this should prove a card-stricken affair once again. Hence why the betting line stands at over/under 5.5 cards.
The three that sit behind Morelos will be doing much of the dirty work and get in the heads of Celtic’s back four. Ryan Kent on the left, Glen Kamara down the middle and Malik Tillman on the right. That’s where I’d be watching.
Match-ups to watch:
Cameron Carter-Vickers vs Ryan Kent
Greg Taylor vs Malik Tillman
Carl Starfelt vs Glen Kamara