Penalties, systematic advantages, practice, always celebrate


Penalty competitions are not decided by random luck.  Teams from higher divisions win against lower division opponents more often than the reverse, by 8 percentage points.  That advantage pales into insignificance compared to the benefits of going first in a penalty competition.

A 2010 study published in the American Economic Review found a systemic first-mover advantage.  Teams going first in a penalty competition won on 60% of occasions.  The study found players had more success taking a kick that would put them into the lead, than when they were merely drawing level.

The difference was most pronounced comparing a kick to win a competition, which had a 92% conversion rate, with a kick to avoid defeat, which was successful on 62% of occasions.  This is a manifestation of Loss Aversion.  The fear of losing something hugely impacts our behaviour, far more than the prospect of winning does.  I could get distracted here and say the fear of losing 10-in-a-row took hold at Celtic Park, at the cost of where heads should have been.

Another 2010 study examined Emotional Contagion and penalty competitions.  Players who celebrated after their kick were more likely to be on the winning side than those who quietly returned to the centre circle.  Specifically, a player who immediately follows an opponent that celebrates extravagantly is more likely to miss than when this factor is controlled for.

This study’s conclusion is quite fascinating, “that emotional contagion is an important process in the context of elite sport performance.”  From all these years writing and reading CQN, I could suggest that emotional contagion works in all aspects of life.  It is a real thing that has an impact on those around us.

A 2012 article in Economic Inquiry promoted a tweak to penalty competitions.  Instead of Team A always kicking ahead of Team B, it suggested Team A – Team B, then Team B – Team A, or ABBA, not ABAB.  The ABBA system has been trialed and proven to eliminate the first-mover advantage, however, various authorities have thought it too confusing for fans!

Practice is a whole other area, one that was rejected on these shores for many years.  The challenge here is that the problem for an elite professional is not to kick a ball 12 yards, but to do so in acute circumstances that are impossible to replicated on the training field.

A 2010 study out of University of Plymouth found that practice through Functional Imagery Training was found to improve penalty kick outcomes (other types of practice, which were used as a control, did not).  So practice, but only if you know how to practice.

I also read a study that found if you are facing your own fans you are more likely to win a penalty competition, but I can’t find it……

We put a lot of work into finding advantages at Celtic.  Improving penalty outcomes is one of the clearest benefits we can achieve.  It is a bit too late for others.

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  1. Ernie.


    You have a train to catch! Must speak to your media desk and get you fighting for your union from home.



    Remember Ernie no Scotland no power.



    Sean Clerkin shows the creeping clutching for power your union is attempting in its rollback of human rights.


    The moon howling is once again forwarded by yourself- ‘cultural hegemony’ by an apologist for iraqi War death,how confused it must be under keev,and that’s before we scrutinise the tory light policies

  2. SAINT STIVS on 22ND MAY 2022 1:31 PM


    sunday service on the trains, good luck young pip. hurrah






    SNP government making as much of a success of running the trains as they’ve done of running the ferries.



    You must be very proud.

  3. Stephbhoy Totally agree.



    WeeBobbyCollins, That made me laugh,



    R,C, Again totally agree. Cups are grand days out. If Celtic are playing in a Cup game of course I want them to win, come to that if they are playing a Friendly I also want them to win.



    However the Holy Grail is the League and for me a decent European run, there was a time when every team in Europe feared Celtic Park, now they come to enjoy it and shower us with platitudes after they have beaten us.


    Next year direct into Group Stage is going to be a huge ask to get even 3rd in the Group & extend our European journey but improving our European standing must be a major priority.

  4. well done ernie, I counted you in there, rope a dope in practice.



    dont get distracted, you will miss the ferries, the trains and the plane from prestwick.

  5. Stephbhoy



    “Forrest will be on less wages now the new contract Is signed.”





    Is that based on anything other than your dislike of the player. There is no long history of players signing their final years contracts for less than they were on previously.



    It may be that Jamesie’s appearance levels may reduce his overall wage packet but I doubt that he is on anything other than increased terms.

  6. sevco’s CL 3rd qualifying round possible opponents are pretty much finalised. It’ll be one of Monaco, Midtyjlland, Strum Graz and Union SG.



    All the seeded teams will want to avoid Monaco, a big club recovering from a couple of bad years. I’d also look to avoid Union SG, they’ve taken everyone by surprise in the Belgian league on their promotion year, could do the same in Europe.




    I have known james since he was 10 years old and he was one of the nicest kids that came through the celtic academy which was full of Billy big boots. His dad, a rangers supporter at the time, was also a nice person as was his mum. Been a while since i have seen him but to say i dont like James could not be further from the truth.



    I would also like to add that as a player he has been very good and sometimes excellent for us, lots of big games to look back on.



    Over the next 3 years James will get a lot more than he would have for his final year but the terms will reflect his squad status.




  8. SonsofErin



    Do you have a link where I can see all


    Champions League,Europa League and Europa conference?


    Per country



    If there is one




  9. would love a midfield purchase to allow calmac the option to move forward during games , now that tr & nb are gone.

  10. You opinioned that james is on increased terms and that my opinion he is on less money was based on the fact I do not like him. I simply wanted to point out that that assumption is false so outlined my view of him based on my knowledge of him and his family.



    I am not going to ask James if he is on less money. My opinion about less money is based on the fact his last contract was signed after he came off 30 plus goal contributions season over the previous 3 seasons. His new contract is being signed coming off the back of barely any football in 2 years.



    Unlike most careers wages in football and sports people in general tends to drop off as they get older because of age related decline in preformance, increased injury and recovery time etc. Its common knowledge and common sense that clubs would look at a players preformance output and that that would be reflected in terms of the contract offered.



    He signed a new 3 year contact he did not extend his current contract.




  11. All the talk about them going great guns this year through the Europa League. I think a helluva a lot of folk on here forget that they went through the Group Stages on 8 Points! Ourselves and Midjtland were unable to progress despite having 9 points each and Leicester City also had 8 points and again didn’t go through, so their luck started with the Group they landed in and continued in many rounds on their way to the final in Seville. We were much better than them in a much harder group and if we had gone through we could have done just as well as they eventually did, so please, less of this, ” How great they are in Europe” etc, it doesn’t stand any factual examination and shows just how lucky they were to land in the group that they did, por cierto.

  12. Sonsoferin



    It would have needed snookers for Copenhagen to have dropped down and put PSV into the frame for 3rd rnd for thems.



    Don’t agree re the Belgians. A one season wonder. Their star seems to have been waning last few weeks.



    I do agree Monaco would be tough. Not sure that they won’t catch them too early though.



    Monaco then PSV would be the toughest 2 I reckon. Hopefully one of them would step up and ensure they can go for Europa gold !



    Jist in case I am hoping Milan triumph tonight in Italy to enurse they would be no better than pot4 for groups.

  13. in the greatest european run ever ………. something called rangers …………



    Lost the CL qualifier to Malmo HOME AND AWAY.



    Went int othe Europa playoff round, squeezing past Alashkert 1-0 on agrregate.



    Lost thier first 2 group games, drew two more, won only two SCORING ONLY 6 goals and qualifies with 8 points.



    in the run to the final they lost another 4 games, and drew 2 more.



    let it sink in for a while, what did they really acehive this all conquering side ?



    the greatest result in their history with a 4-2 win in dortmund that should have had alarm bells ringing for suspicious betting patterns.



    180,000 in seville (wah wah wah) nae wunder they ran out of water.

  14. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Wonder how Jurgen Klopp would react today if he KNEW the guy refereeing Liverpool’s game was a Manchester City season ticket holder ? (sorry an ex Manchester City season ticket holder)


    feckinballistic CSC

  15. So reading you back, you are not allowed comment on Scottish society, which includes a bent sfa, msm, and sevco without someone getting offended and turning into politics.



    Thou must not be critical of Scotland. It’s perfect. Just the like fantasy pr of sevco. Nothing is ever wrong. Everything it does is great. We are the best at everything. Don’t be critical of us or we’ll release a statement or write a, very angry nonsense post🤣😂🤣

  16. Sonsoferin



    Thanks for the update. Hopefully Monaco keep hold of Tchouameni until after the qualifiers, the EPL big hitters are looking at signing him in the Summer. 1 in 4 chance of meeting them in q3 then 50% in the play offs round






    I saw a list of probable qualifiers for the groups using the coefficients of the teams in the qualifying rounds, it had Dynamo Zagreb as the team who would benefit from Inter winning serie A, Sevco were on place behind them in the club coefficient list.



    It was a bit sad to see us second bottom of all the teams who would qualify.

  17. Weebobbycollins on

    Ffs…bbc Scotland football web page is smothered in hun stuff. You would think those in the sports department are hun sympathisers…


    Sottish cup champions I suppose merits the coverage…

  18. Burnley78 – Yeah, Midtyjlland turning around the top spots in the last games in Denmark today is highly unlikely.



    The strange Belgian league split hasn’t been kind to Union SG. They were in good form going into the split, 5 points ahead of Club Brugge. Post-split the points are halved, so then losing home and away to Club Brugge ultimately cost them the title. They lose their top scorer to Brighton this summer (they actually bought him in Jan but loaned him back). However they also have the highly rated Dante Vanzier to step up. They might be a one season wonder or not, regardless I rate them as awkward unknowns best avoided.



    You’d normally expect the 4 seeded teams to go into the play-off round, but the presence of Monaco in the non-seeds throws a spanner in the works, whoever draws them has a good chance of going out. That’d make the play-off teams three of – Benfica, sevco, Dynamo Kyiv, PSV; plus Monaco. In that order of UEFA coefficients, and the top 2 seeded.

  19. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    I see Hype-a-Hun season has begun.



    Surely Bassey seems new chosen one to bring in millions.

  20. prestonpans bhoys on

    Bassey, just checked his career; u18 and u23 with Leicester; senior career starts with Old Firm FC; played two international games.



    That’s it folks, £20m transfer fee is as possible as 100k fans in Spain, Alice in Wonderland stuff😱😵😕

  21. IniquitousIV on




    “sevco’s CL 3rd qualifying round possible opponents are pretty much finalised. It’ll be one of Monaco, Midtyjlland, Strum Graz and Union SG.”




    I have little confidence that any of these teams could eliminate the Orcs, particularly the latter 3. The Old Firm took 7 off Midtjylland the season before the Danes eliminated us, and it could easily have been 14.

  22. IniquitousIV on

    If half time results stand, West Ham oust ManU from Europa League placing, condemning them to European Petrovac Cup. Cristiano will be ecstatic.

  23. Weebobbycollins on

    “I know many posters have little interest in women’s fitba”


    You could try JHB, he has a great interest in the women’s game. Oh, I forgot! He’s away until deep into July.

  24. STEPHBHOY67 on 22ND MAY 2022 12:14 PM


    After a fair bit of conjecture, you conclude that:



    “Bottom line is there is no good excuse for celtic not to add another 3 or 4 first team starters“



    Maybe not a good excuse but certainly a possible reason ie maybe your conjecture is not accurate.

  25. City should pull Fernandinho, move Stones in one, Cancelo to RB and Zinchenko on to LB