Celtic enjoyed one of their most straightforward derby victories over Rangers in some time with a comfortable 3-0 win yesterday. TFK review some statistics from the game.
Although the result wasn’t really in doubt once Gary Hooper doubled Celtic’s advantage before the half hour mark, the game began evenly with neither side establishing a clear supremacy. The opening minutes were played at a frantic pace, as Kyle Bartley found out when he was horrendously late with an early challenge, and it took Celtic a good quarter of an hour to establish a passing rhythm. When they did put a string of passes together they succeeded in releasing Commons and Hooper who combined down the left flank for the latter to score impressively.
By the 17 minute mark both sides had completed 46 passes and given it away almost as many times (Celtic lost the ball 40 times, Rangers failed with 45 passes). The game began to settle down after that Hooper strike but still neither side dominated possession of the ball. In the period between Hooper’s two goals, Celtic completed only 22 more passes (in 11 minutes) while Rangers squeezed in 24 at a slightly better success rate.
The response from Rangers to the second goal was not as aggressive as you might expect. They concentrated instead on playing themselves into the game and were happy to build up passes around the back to regain their composure. At half time Rangers were up to 144 passes with 104 giveaways as Celtic sat back on their lead and ended the half with 116 successful passes and 89 failed passes.
The second half was dominated almost entirely by Celtic after an initial burst from Rangers that lasted only a couple of minutes. The midfield that were dominant at Ibrox in recent encounters gained control of the game again and Celtic moved the ball around with ease, neither threatened nor hurried by a deep-lying Rangers midfield.
The home side completed an impressive 186 passes in the second half, against 103 for their opponents. The success rates went in opposite directions too with Celtic ending the game with 64.4% passes completed successfully. Rangers achieved 59.9%.