Can Rangers find a way to beat Celtic’s averages?

Can Rangers find a way to beat Celtic’s averages?
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 29: Rangers fans show their support during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on December 29, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Looking at the averages by Rangers versus the rest of the league across a lot of stats clearly paints Michael Beale’s men in a good light this season. But with a recent League Cup Final loss to rivals Celtic and trailing their rivals in the Premiership title race, those averages seem to count for little.

They actually don’t when it comes to reading stats with the purpose of betting at sites through Match Center. But when it comes to the all-important pursuit of silverware, the only average that counts is the direct head-to-head with the other half of the Old Firm.

Unfortunately, in comparison to Celtic, Rangers boss Michael Beale needs to find a lot more from his current team, and from the new faces that he will pull into the club during the summer transfer window.

Goals Per Game

The league average for goals scored by a team in the 2023 Scottish Premiership has been 1.47. Seeing that number hover around the 1.5 mark for an entire league season is average in and of itself. But Rangers have smashed that, running at around 2.4 goals per league game for this campaign.

That has been huge, but it pales in comparison to the goals-output that Celtic have posted in the 2022/23 campaign. But just how important is it to have those non-crucial goals stats boosted as Celtic have done?

It’s not about the numbers of non-crucial goals so much in this regard, it’s simply about one team being far more free-scoring than the other against the same level of opposition. Celtic’s greater proficiency has led to situations where they have had enough in their arsenal to recover on the rare occasions that they do find themselves in a sticky spot.

They can back themselves in front of goal. Any team averaging more than 3 goals per game will. It’s an area of outrageous confidence for them. Rangers, not so much, and those kinds of differences win titles.

Minutes Leading

It is also interesting to look at the direct comparison between Rangers and Celtic for the average minutes leading in matches during the season. Celtic’s number in holding a lead averages around 56 minutes per match.

Rangers, in contrast, running along at 45 minutes per match is a massive departure from that number. Celtic have, more often, been in stronger positions of control with the lead, which has allowed them to dictate proceedings and the flow of games.

They have not been chasing games as much as Rangers have done, and have extended leads more often, which in turn has led to factors like them being able to substitute key players earlier in matches, to keep their strongest core fresh.

There’s the opposite side of this statistical area as well. The lack of time leading in matches by Rangers (in comparison only to Celtic) has bled over heavily into their average time being level and average time trailing in matches.

The latter statistic highlights a huge difference once again. Rangers have been trailing by an average of 17 minutes per match, while Celtic have trailed on average for just 6 minutes per match.

These are all important micro-factors as to why the league title may well be heading to Parkhead and not Ibrox this season. There is some massive ground that needs to be made up by Rangers. They just haven’t been ruthless or clinical enough.

Where It is Good For The Gers

Rangers stats for the average percentage of league defeats, goals conceded per game and points per game just blow the rest of the league out of the water. But the Celtic problem is not going to go away.

So what does Michael Beale have to do to mount a stronger, bigger, better title challenge against their Old Firm rivals next season? A lot has been made about him wanting to bolster his defence in the transfer window with Thomas Kristensen apparently a hot target.

But the truth of the matter is that they need more help in front of the goal. Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi has had a phenomenal season and even Hearts’ Lawerence Shankland and Abderdeen’s Bojan Miovski have outshone the Rangers attackers.

Beale and Rangers missed the boat a bit in not being more aggressive in the January transfer window. It’s a tough time for deals of course, but it is an area during the summer in which Rangers can’t afford to be quite so passive.

Who Could Solve The Problem?

Rangers are going to score goals in the league, but they are going to need to flex their scoring threat a lot more next season. Having a striker who is capable of reaching 20 goals is something that could get under the skin of Celtic and get them rattled a bit.

Be it Oli McBurnie or the more likely target of Ross Stewart who carries some experience in the Scottish top flight having played for Ross County, Rangers need someone who can mesh with the creativity and supply channels provided by James Tavernier and Brona Barisic.

Back in their league-winning 2020/21 season, Rangers posted 90 plus goals in the season. This term they saw Celtic get to that mark with just 28 games of the campaign played. The Hoops have taken scoring to the next level. The gauntlet has been laid for Rangers to try and pick up.

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