I’m sure I’m not the only one who is baffled, although amused, at the number of stats which have popped up in the media recently full of Ibrox feel-good. The latest was just days ago, a story in the Herald about how a site called StatsBomb has rated Tavernier as the most valuable player in the league, with Ryan Kent in third place.
Who cares how they calculated this nonsense, or what they decided “value” represented? There were three Celtic players in the top ten; Jota, Abada and Juranovic. There were players in there from Kilmarnock, Dundee Utd, St Mirren and Livingston along with the Ibrox trio, the third of whom was Barisic. It’s a ridiculous “list” but a national newspaper trumpeted it.
Do you think anyone agrees with it? Do you think the Ibrox fans, whose team is nine points behind ours, draw any succour at all from such a preposterous contention that two of the “top three” footballers on this are at their club?
If that was true and they really did have two of the three most effective players in the country you might be asking yourself why they are so far behind, and why we were able to comprehensively outplay them earlier in the season.
You could be forgiven for thinking that publishing this is just another way the media has of undermining Van Bronckhorst; after all, he is the one charged with getting the best out of these guys and what these “stats” are saying is that there’s plenty here to work with. That was my initial thought when I read it, aside from being provoked to laughter.
But again, what it’s really doing is its playing down the achievements of our footballers, who are clearly head and shoulders above anyone else in this league. The media just loves this stuff right now, and there were a rash of reports when Tavernier was rated as the best player in the country by that repository of all football knowledge FIFA 23.
I am just amazed that nobody in the press corps has dug out the valuations on Football Manager 23 yet, to show that Kent and Morelos can still fetch big transfer fees. Honestly, these are the straws they cling to and it has become increasingly pathetic.
What they should have grasped by now is that this stuff is just tragic and makes no a blind bit of difference to the relative positions of the clubs.
Nobody at Celtic will lose any sleep over it; indeed, if anyone is going to sweat it then it should be Van Bronckhorst, because as I said, I was half convinced that this was deliberately targeting him, with the stark implication of those numbers that he should be doing much, much better than he actually is at the moment.
In the end, the only stats that matter here are the ones threatening his job; Celtic, top, by a wide margin and our players setting the standards for everyone else. Nothing that the media digs out of the stats drawer will change any of that.
Eventually, this team of ours will get the credit that it fully deserves. Even these desperate hacks cannot deny us that indefinitely.