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The Scottish Media’s Stats Obsession Is Just Another Way To Discredit What Celtic Has Done.

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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.

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14 comments
  • Damian says:

    Your third from last paragraph is the decisive point. The tone of the articles appears to be directed as a criticism of Rangers and the Rangers manager by pointing out that they are not making the best of their considerable advantages over most opponents.

    It would also be interesting to know what is meant by ‘valuable’. Is it simply a crude estimation of raw transfer value? If so, then the particular names on the list (including some of the Celtic players) seem off. The most valuable players in the Scottish league will be both young and early into lengthy contracts, before other metrics are even considered (important as they may be).

    If it is measuring ‘value’ as a calculation of importance to their respective teams (I.e, what’s their XG, XA, combined expected contributions, defensive action success rate, pack pass score etc, what’s their team’s average points with/without them in the starting XI etc. What would be their team’s likely table position without them, etc.)?

    By the first measure (potential transfer value), Abada is an incredibly valuable player, say. By the second, Callum McGregor is absolutely invaluable.

    Is it measured over a longer period of time than simply the season we are currently one third of the way through? This would be fair enough – we sold Edouard, Dembele and Tierney for relatively big sums at the end of periods of low impact and/or injury.

    The word ‘valuable’ can mean a variety of things.

    • Johnny Green says:

      We did not make much money on the Edouard transfer. Deduct the 9M we paid for him plus the percentage of his sell on fee payable to PSG, then we made very little.

      • Damian says:

        Fair enough. Though still ‘valuable’ in the ways outlined above. If it was transfer value two seasons ago, he would still have been on an SPFL top ten list despite playing badly in a very bad team etc.

      • Damian says:

        I agree with the sentiment btw: we should sell players when they are at their most valuable. It’s easy to tell when that is: it’s when fans will absolutely hate it. The present-day facts of that are that we should be selling CCV, O’Reily, Abada soon. If someone has the right money in January, we should take it. That’s exactly what Bruges and Salzburg do, and there’s a direct correlation between that and why they massively outperform us, with similar budgets, in Europe. We should have sold Edouard a year earlier. We should probably have sold Dembele after six months. Fans would have hated it, but fans don’t really know anything.

  • Denis Burns says:

    Shh! You shouldn’t really bring this to the fore, James. The longer they delude themselves the better for the Celts. You should write Celtic put in an offer of £30M for Tavernier but it was rejected out of hand and we were left with some guy called Hatati for a couple of Mill. Always bargain basement, that’s us. Remember getting some fella called Larsson for 600k.

  • sid says:

    Maybe it’s the only way to draw attention to players going out of contract. They started this stuff with Kent. (Statsbomb)
    If a couple of clubs get interested, who knows, one of them might see merit in offering a fee to gazump the competition.
    Statistical/ moneyball style recruitment is popular with clubs now.
    We laughed when hearing about their scouting department using google to find players- maybe it’s more of a thing than we think.
    Have Ajax depended too much on this with Bassey due to lockdown limitations?
    Tavernier isn’t out of contract but they certainly consider him ‘saleable’.
    His penalties account for a lot of the ‘winning’ that they do, so if you take away
    shady refereeing- those stats would nosedive.

    Looking at numbers will only take you so far.
    Just ask Ajax what they think of Rangers actual ‘quality’ at the moment.

    My occam’s razor here is TRIFC being desperate for sales.

  • John Copeland says:

    You would think that the most ‘valuable ‘ player in Scotland would at least have been a candidate for a place in the English world cup squad , wouldn’t you ? After all ,the English are not in the greatest shape right now ,are they ? You would think it would be a doddle for Tavpen to get picked …..Right …? I mean he is so good ,isn’t he ?

  • Charlie Thaview says:

    Won’t be long before the media are trumpeting Transfermarkt valuations as a Sevco triumph

  • Tony B says:

    The usual pishful thinking and total bollocks aimed at the deluderino gullibillies in order to get them to buy their failing fan boy rags.

    Desperate guff from desperate people intended to impress desperate peeple, the stupidest football fans in the world.

    Embarrassing and hilarious in equal measure.

  • Johnny Green says:

    The only stats that matter are the points that put us at the top of the table, you can shove the rest.

    • Scouse bhoy says:

      If they can deny that they are a new club then the truth will never be told by footballs media shame. Imposters stealing a wage shaming their profession.

  • harold shand says:

    So desperate for feel good stuff they’re doing ‘ Gio one year in the job today ‘ just so they can bring up the Euro final , which of course they lost

  • Martin.H says:

    Spot on James, even after st.mirren drew with newco, jane lewis asked g.v.b. if he thought he would get the bump, disgraceful journalism.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Lol this is what happens when you leave big BENNY in charge of a blog or a calculator upside down stats and numbers get mixed up.

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