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.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20

  1. ernie lynch on 20th May 2022 7:14 pm



    SCULLYBHOY on 20TH MAY 2022 7:06 PM







    ‘Is their desire for independence shared as well – a sort of a Kelltic thing?’




    No. One one to get rid of a border that partitions an island, the other wish to create a border and partition an island.


    And, in crude terms, one, historically at least, was an oppressed people, the other an oppressor.


    What I want to know though is why there’s no saltire in the official photie?





    So being an island determines a nations’ identity? Interesting.



    One and one makes two.



    Are Celtic / Kelltic an Irish club or a Scottish club? A real debate. On the other hand, are The Rangers, old and new, a Unionist club? Not much of a debate.



    Debates – hey?



    Well, it’s not over until the match follows the penalty shoot out.

  2. glendalystonsils on

    If you had asked me before Wednesday night , I would gladly have given them the Scottish cup (and even tied the red , white and blue ribbons on it myself ) just as long as they lost to Frankfurt .



    Now that my wish has been granted I’ve changed my mind , I want them gubbed by the minis as well .



    Callmegreedyifyoulke CSC

  3. Tom Rogic has used his Instagram account to send out a final farewell to the Celtic support.



    In a statement, the Australian midfielder said: “After over 9 years, my time at Celtic Football Club has come to an end. I feel very lucky to have been able to spend so many amazing years at such a great club. To have played for the club 273 times and won 16 trophies has been a dream come true.



    “I have shared a dressing room with so many amazing teammates over the years who I’d like to thank for everything and also congratulate for all we have achieved together.



    “To all the managers, coaches and staff members I have worked with at the club, it has been a pleasure working together. Thank you all for helping me become a better player and person.






    Going to miss him.

  4. I’ve just found out the Ramsey only came on for the penalties – so tired legs or mind was no excuse. Brilliant piece of game management by GVB.

  5. Glendalystonsils- I wouldn’t give them the steam off my, eh, tea, if they were dying of thirst in a seville stadium.



    That said, a win for them tomorrow will be a bit hollow and a loss utterly devastating. Marvellous.



    Can’t quite bring myself to say ‘come on Hearts’ so I’ll just say ‘may the least worst option win’.

  6. Anybody in Lisbon this Wednesday?


    I’m taking my grandson and will probably head down to a couple of Irish pubs down near the promenade.

  7. IniquitousIV on




    I too expected McShagger to save a penalty or two. I was even more convinced when Tav (pen ) won not one, but two coin tosses, to have the penalties at the Orc end, and for him to take the first one. I thought, “How jammy can this lot be?”



    The basis of my thinking was that, during the Red Star game at the Bigotdome, McShagger was at least 2 yards off his line to save a penalty. The fact that he did not do so in Seville is, I assume, down to 2 factors:



    He was not in front of the 50,000 baying Great Unwashed at the Bigotdome exerting pressure on the linesman purporting to police the goal line.



    And 2, perhaps the Slovenian ref was very forceful in stating any infraction, in front of a TV audience of millions, would result in a retake.



    In any event, not racing off his line, as he did at Ibrox, severely curtailed his chances of saving any of the well taken Frankfurt efforts. Much to my joy and unrestrained glee!😊

  8. Hassan i Sabbah on

    Scullybhoy. Interesting point you make. If it’s really about geography then by that token all land masses should have the same political system.



    So Europe, regardless of different cultures and languages, should all be politically under the same regime.



    Didn’t Hitler entertain that notion?

  9. glendalystonsils on

    ROBERTTRESSELL on 20TH MAY 2022 7:58 PM



    Likewise , my wanting Hearts to win is based solely on the fact that I despise them marginally less than I despise Sevco .

  10. Is it the Malvinas or the Falklands?



    Are the Hebrides all individual countries?



    So many questions.



    If only Bro Walfred was alive today to tell us why he was against Glasgow Hibernians and went for Keltic (Celtic) instead.



    Dreams and songs to sing.

  11. Hassan i Sabbah on

    That’s it. The lunatics have finally taken over the asylum.



    Pass the snake oil.

  12. Weebobbycollins on

    Brianparis…any chance you could lend me a fiver until I get my pension?

  13. great quote the other night hassan -‘you’d have to have a heart of stone not to pi$$ yourself laughing’.



    Hope our players get a good rest for 2 months/ 6 weeks? Ange’s Tom Rogic is irreplaceable but there is a basis to the squad now to think we won’t miss him. I’m looking forward to M O’ Reilly next year. I think he’ll come up another level or two.

  14. Hassan i Sabbah on

    JACKIEMACK. Glad you liked it but can’t claim credit for it. May have been Dorothy Parker.

  15. Tom McLaughlin on

    Great to see ICT getting hammered at home. Keep them in the lower leagues where they belong.

  16. SCULLYBHOY on 20TH MAY 2022 8:31 PM




    If only Bro Walfred was alive today to tell us why he was against Glasgow Hibernians and went for Keltic (Celtic) instead.







    A notion first suggested by Brian Wilson.



    With absolutely no evidence to support it.

  17. Well it’s taken 54 mins for the ‘caley go ballistic’ game to be mentioned – they’re slipping.

  18. Tom McLaughlin on

    GENE on 20TH MAY 2022 8:59 PM


    Well it’s taken 54 mins for the ‘caley go ballistic’ game to be mentioned – they’re slipping.


    That headline wasn’t even original.



    It was first used down southin the early 70s about an Everton defeat.

  19. FB


    And mine – I think I’m turning into my dad – loved Perry Como and the Dubliners.





    I understood it was first used about Calais in a French game

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 20