Can Celtic score 29 goals in the remaining 13 league games of this season?
That’s what Ange’s side will need to do if they’re to break the Scottish League record for goals scored across a 38 game league campaign.
That record was set by Brendan Rodger’s Invincibles in the 2016/17 season but just six seasons on Ange’s free scoring side are looking to blow it out the water.
SO FAR, SO IMPRESSIVE
As it stands the Hoops are averaging 3.12 goals per league game, having scored 78 times in 25 games so far.
If a minimum tally of 107 is the target then we need to record (or improve on) a scoring rate of 2.23 goals a game.
BHOYS ON FORM
Celtic’s domestic form has been excellent throughout this season with the side now on a twenty-one game unbeaten run since the surprise defeat at St Mirren back in September.
That form’s showing no sign of letting up and until Drey Wright’s consolation strike for St Johnstone at the weekend we’d scored twenty goals without reply.
Ange’s players are highly motivated and are performing to a high level at both ends of the pitch.
With the introduction of four new signings in the January window are they about to get even better?
RELENTLESS GOALSCORING FORM
If – as the stats show – Celtic continue to score at that current average of 3.12 goals per game then at the conclusion of Matchday 38 we’ll be sitting pretty on 118 goals for the season.
(Or 118.56 to be precise).
That’s rarely how football works of course, but it is an indicator of the kind of relentless goalscoring form this Celtic side have shown this season.
And it’s showing no sign of letting up.
Sunday’s 4-1 win at St Johnstone was the thirteenth time that Celtic have scored four or more goals in a game this season.
Five of those occasions have occurred since the World Cup break.
Winning 9-0 away to Dundee United, 4-0 at home to Rangers and 6-1 at home to Hibs all within the first ten games of the season didn’t do the ‘Goals For’ column any harm either.
FORM AND FITNESS
Football isn’t played out on paper of course and there are a number of things that may stand in the way of the Bhoys breaking through the 106 goals barrier.
Injury to key players would be the obvious one and to a huge extent that’s not something that can really be planned for in football.
Kyogo Furuhashi has found some of his best goalscoring form in a green and white shirt recently.
Sunday was his 22nd goal of the season (19th in the league) and if he continues at this rate he’ll comfortably break the 30-goal mark.
New signing Oh is currently his main back up and though he’s yet to get off the mark the good money would be on him scoring somewhere between 5-10 goals between now and the end of the campaign.
If we can keep those two fit, whilst maintaining the goal contributions of the likes of Jota, Mooy, Maeda and even Greg Taylor then we’ll be in a good place to set a new Scottish league record.
Some will question the merits of allowing Giorgos Giakoumakis to leave mid-season.
We’ve seen what can happen when holding on to unhappy players and it’s clearly not a game Ange wants to play.
Giako’s been good for Celtic. We’ve been good for him. Now we all move on.
WHAT ELSE CAN STOP CELTIC BREAKING THE RECORD?
One day we’ll get through a whole blog without mentioning it…
The incredible scrutiny of every single Celtic goal since the introduction of VAR has been a sight to behold.
If there’s even the slightest suggestion that something “Illegal” has occurred then strap yourself in for 3-4 minutes of hanging around.
VAR referees looking at a Celtic goal. pic.twitter.com/wVrj7sWiWC
— Celtic F1rst (@CelticF1rst) February 5, 2023
The poor condition of some of the pitches is also detrimental to free flowing, goalscoring football, but with Celtic Park itself falling very much into this category then it would seem hypocritical to call this one out.
We’ll do so anyway though.
The last factor that may come into play is the fact that we’re now entering the “business end” of the season.
This is where titles are won and lost and the increase in pressure can affect different players and different teams in different ways.
The big advantage this Celtic side have however is that most of the squad are now league winners, having lifted the Scottish Premiership Trophy less than a year ago.
Whilst that experience in itself provides no guarantees, when added to the ruthless mindset and approach of manager Ange Postecoglou it makes this Celtic side a formidable force.
SCOTTISH LEAGUE RECORD BREAKERS?
Let’s be clear. Retaining the Scottish Premiership Title first and foremost is THE most important objective between now and the end of the season.
But we may as well try and set a new Scottish league record along the way.
Without trying to sound arrogant it’s hard to see Celtic NOT beating the record based on what we’ve seen so far this season, but stranger things have happened in football.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy watching them try.
TUNE IN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE CELTIC EXCHANGE WEEKLY WHERE WE DISCUSS THE CELTIC FUTURES, RECORD BREAKING TARGETS & THE TITLE RUN-IN.
AVAILABLE ON ALL MAJOR PODCAST PLAYERS, HERE AT THE CELTIC EXCHANGE, OR BY CLICKING THE PLAYER BELOW.