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. Hassan i Sabbah on 20th May 2022 8:40 pm



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


    Pass the snake oil.





    You have followed the logic of all the posts re this debate, with Earnest?

  2. Tom McLaughlin on

    I’ll be watching High Wycombe v Sunderland at 3pm from Wembley. I like Sunderland and hope they do it.



    Absolutely – put Keynsham on the map



    Remember listening to Luxembourg on an interference laden wireless.

  4. fanadpatriot on

    Gene @7.01


    I used to go to the barbers for a Perry Como.


    Good Luck in the final

  5. Evening all.



    WEEBOBBYCOLLINS on 20TH MAY 2022 9:14 PM

  could at least have waited until he lent me the fiver…





    Brilliant :)




  6. IniquitousIV on

    After one season, Dortmund sack their manager Marcus Rose, with a W 27 D 4 L 16 record. They finished 2nd in Bundesliga, 8 points behind Bayern, were eliminated from the CL Group finishing behind Ajax and Sporting Lisbon, lost to lower division St. Pauli in the German Cup, and were gubbed out of the Europa by the Orcs. Tough gig, being a manager.

  7. MadMitch



    PL put out excuse after excuse about how the CL then the EuL then the EuConL then the Inter Toto Cup was a step too far / not for the likes of us.



    And too many on here agreed with that argument.



    No he didn’t and no they didn’t. It would make a fairly facile assertion that even your logic could punch holes in, so I can see why you would wish it were true. But false assertions make for false deductions. If you wrote lyrics for Meatloaf, his strike rate would leveraging towards 0 out of 3.




    Now the TFOD2.1 have made a go of it in Europe and now too many in the support are demanding that we do the same or hopefully better their exploits — that is not a plan for the future that is just bragging rights for Bronskis.



    Here’s a genuine quiz question for you what is the relation between your “Smalltown Boy” group and Kate Robbins, comedienne, impressionist, first cousin of Paul McCartney, backing singer for Wah on “The Story of the Blues”, and lead vocalist on “The Chicken Song”?

  8. fairhill bhoy on

    Gene- my dad’s favourite,so I got him a Sinatra LP for Christmas one year.🤦‍♂️


    Thanks for this.Still watching the show.


    I’m looking at a tiger.

  9. Tom McLaughlin on




    It WAS offside. Andy Walker is quick to call these out when it’s to Celtic’s advantage, but not a word this time, even after seeing the replay.

  10. Bhoyjoebelfast on



    Remember we had a cream and red Dansette radio listening to luxembourg….then on a Saturday a’noon this is the Scottish home service Association football.

  11. Here’s a genuine quiz question for you what is the relation between your “Smalltown Boy” group and Kate Robbins, comedienne, impressionist, first cousin of Paul McCartney, backing singer for Wah on “The Story of the Blues”, and lead vocalist on “The Chicken Song”?






    emily attak gave an interview a wee wjiles ago and she was related to bloody everybody in pool

  12. Tom


    Absolutely – falls into ‘these things happen ‘ category when it’s not us

  13. fairhill bhoy on

    Gene -it was the 70’s


    I’ve loved it mate.


    Memories 🤷🏻‍♂️

  14. fanadpatriot on

    On my seventy birthday an Edinburgh team ,Hibernian,beat Sevco in the Scottish cup final ,.On my seventy six birthday aEdinburgh team ,Hearts , play Sevco in the Scottish cup final .I have a funny feeling the 21st May is a special day .Another party awaits HH

  15. FB


    The dancing and dialogue were certainly of their day – I enjoyed it as well – 1971 I’d not long moved to England.

  16. fairhill bhoy on

    Gave all my dads LPs up to a care home at the top of eddlewood ,up bye fairhill 😉

  17. Composing Daezen will be something else.



    Wow, we have an incredible element of Surprise for Europe next Season.

  18. IniquitousIV on



    Fantastic clip I’d never seen before. Pity that Hibs team broke up. Cummings to Australia, McGinn to Villa, Stokes to God knows where.

  19. IniquitousIV,



    I Loved seeing the Newco being there to break a Hibee Hoodoo.



    Thank You, Scooby Scooby Doo.



    Stranger things have happened than the Minis beating thems. Crap sonics that will ensue.

  20. Paul’s leader yesterday was one of his best (outside all the hun liquidation stuff).


    If Kent hadn’t missed that late chance ( btw the defender does great just putting him off a split second before he connects) we were looking at a deluge of msm lead hun euphoria for a long time.


    That’s as close as they’ll ever get in my kids lifetime to pay back some ( they’d have said all) of the 55 years of pain. I’ll never forget McCoist pre Moscow game at Ibrox in 93….’we have a great chance to shut that lot over there up at last’.


    Have no doubt, the main thrust of attack on us, when the parades and 24 page pull-outs died off would be how it equalled 67. All crap of course but it wouldve brassed me off.


    Considering what was at stake, I reckon it turned out the worse result in their history, old or new club. Perhaps only beaten by the 7-1 embarrassment.


    The euphoria was definitely reserved for me, and every Tim I know.

  21. Rory dropping a couple of shots on the first nine out in Oklahoma


    Important not to make a song and dance out of it.

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