Ruthlessly dedicate to data or return to Voodoo


The battle between what your eye tells you about a player and what his outcomes are is over a decade old.  Does the player have heart and mental strength, or does he manage to achieve impressive outcomes without it?

Given the choice, I would probably opt for a player who can impress without the heart/strength combo.  You can do a lot of work on those things, but you cannot move the dial much when it comes to innate talent.  If he is achieving because he is maxed out on heart, adjust your expectations south.  How do you judge if a player can translate form in one environment to another, such as Celtic Park?  The stats tell you no more than your eye will on that one,

In 1990, Aston Villa chairman and manager, Doug Ellis and Graham Taylor sat preseason watching Villa play a Trinidadian side in a friendly.  They didn’t know the players name, but they knew they were not leaving the Caribbean the standout striker.  Doubtlessly, both the eye and the stats were in Dwight Yorke’s favour.

Brendan Rodgers entered this debate yesterday:

“There are things that you can never find out through analysis other than by being at a stadium, watching the player and seeing what their movement is like, seeing how he deals the with atmosphere.

“I always say, the analytical side doesn’t tell you if someone has a heart and personality. When you play for a club like this one, you need to have a heart and the mental strength.

“You have to find out those things and see them live. Obviously, statistics will give you a lot, but I’m not driven by it. It’s something which is a really good support for us.”

Who am I to tell our manager different, but I respectfully disagree.  Data driven recruitment is how elite teams operate.  If a player gets results because he has buckets of personality, because he has the Judgement of Solomon or because he has mastered the ancient practice of Voodoo, outcomes are all that matter.

Ruthlessly dedicate to outcomes or accept all this data modelling is just not for you.  Some souls in Haiti practice both Voodoo and Christianity.  Two gods to keep happy!  But don’t let me worry you, maybe it’ll work out fine for us.  Anyway, Hail Mary………

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. As I’ve stated before, I was not a fan of bringing Brendan back, but the poor guy has, in my view, been hung out to dry by the board. His press conference is something to look forward to, watching the guy squirm, awful predicament.



    Tin hat and shield at the ready, but in my opinion only, I think there is a player in Bernabei. He is definitely not a full back but he is a player I reckon.



    Waiting for the barage of pelters




  2. It sounds like all is not well behind the scenes at Celtic Park/Lennoxtown.


    Question is, who wins this argument? An interesting few months ahead.

  3. Go tell the Spartim on

    Its estimated that £6m of talent, bought in the summer, are now going out on loan, or even loan with an obligation to buy. I appreciate, not all signings work out and some of them given where theyve been bought from and their age, this mightve been the plan all along, but, considering we spend relative peanuts to what we can afford, this isnt exactly the best indictment of a “trust the data” policy.



    Do we have the best people in every position, that we can afford, within the PLC and Club to make us what we could be, the answer to that is a resounding no. You could make an argument that getting BR back is possibly the best we can do, unless we took another punt on an unproven manager (at least at a comparable level), that all depends on whether youre playing the ball or the man, or in P67’s case, doing his masters bidding.



    We are successful based on nothing but the support, from our love and dreams of what we could be and of course our cold hard cash, on a regular basis.

  4. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    The manager has to say something if he thinks what’s being brought to him by the recruitment team isn’t good enough.



    Off the top of my head I think we can exclude the recruitment of Joe Harte, Kyogo, Maeda and Hatate from the data driven process (Joe was brought in for his experience/leadership and Ange had first hand knowledge of the Japanese bhoys) and I’d be interested to know who we’ve signed over the past few years based solely on data.



    Certainly going by the last 3 windows I’d say our hit ratio is pretty low, which suggests our chance of signing a decent player is pretty random.

  5. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Did the data driven approach deliver us the 4 summer signings leaving the club in the very next window?



    Let me guess, the the players are brilliant it’s just the dinosaur manager who is unprepared to coach them to their full potential?



    Civil war behind the scenes spells disaster. Imagine if we gift the league to this rotten hun team because of the ego clashes at our club.



    Hail Mary, full of grace… 🙏🙏🙏

  6. I’ll be sorry to see wee Jamsie leave , good value and entertaining over the years. Hopefully, he stays.

  7. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    It just came to me that someone thought the appointment Neil Lennon for a second time was a good idea because “he had an eye for a player”. 🤔

  8. And as if by magic…SFTB browser has got itself a new pair of tights just in time to whitewash yet another PLC pretentious window lol



    SFTB = Shilling For The Board

  9. I am sure clubs will be knocking down the doors of PSG,to pay £100,000 a week,and a loan fee,for Kurzawa.

  10. Why are we signing Idah? I’ve certainly no Idea. And what about selling Turnbull… at a loss to boot?!



    Some data (from BBC Sport):



    Idah: Goals 7 from 34 apps at 0.40 per 90 mins, with 74% shot accuracy and 26% goal conversion.


    Turnbull: Goals 7 from 19 apps at 0.86 per 90 mins, with 73% shot accuracy and 32% goal conversion.


    Kyogo: Goals 10 from 30 apps at 0.42 per 90 mins, with 51% shot accuracy and 20% goal conversion.


    Oh: Goals 5 from 24 apps at 0.64 per 90 mins, with 55% shot accuracy and 16% goal conversion.



    It looks from that lot like we are signing a striker who can’t get into the regular starting line up for a 2nd tier English team, and is less prolific in front of goal than a midfielder who can’t get into the regular starting line up at Celtic Park, yet still manages to be more effective when he does get on than both of our incumbent strikers! And at the moment I think I’d have more faith in DT taking the next penalty kick than any of the regular first 11.



    There’s strange goings on at CP for sure….

  11. Would we have signed Bernabie had someone been flown over to assess him eyes on despite his excellent data ?



    I’d like to think not.

  12. bournesouprecipe on




    Why are we signing Idah? I’ve certainly no Idea. And what about selling Turnbull… at a loss to boot?!






    A) Idah – Because hard data isn’t everything.



    B) Turnbull – Because hard data isn’t everything.



    I haven’t seen Idah, but I’ve seen Turnbull and if we get two thirds of our money back with only six months on his contract, we’re right to sell.

  13. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Given our editors posts over the last couple of days I think our managers days are numbered




  14. Perhaps going down the data only route, is in anticipation of AI taking over the role of the manager?

  15. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    TIMBHOY163 @ 11:24 AM



    Why is it every time we are linked with players there is always a problem,yet when other clubs especially the New Club are all fit and ready to go.






    Nice one TB.



    Narratives for the back pages.



    Four legs good, two legs bad stuff.

  16. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    “You have to find out those things and see them live. Obviously, statistics will give you a lot, but I’m not driven by it. It’s something which is a really good support for us.”



    Who am I to tell our manager different, but I respectfully disagree.






    Indeed Paul.



    You’re a blogger.



    He’s a pro.



    I’m with Brendan on this one.



    Data is important but it has it’s place – to support the instincts and decision making of experts.

  17. The returnof weeron on




    I read BR’s comments as ‘Data plus’. Not ‘instead of data’. We have had Celtic players in the past who couldn’t withstand the dressing room, never mind the expectations of our fans. Talented players.



    Away from football, why does the boss insist in meeting the prime candidate before making an offer? He/she wants to make sure that they are the right fit. It’s normal.



    You can do better than this, Paul.




  18. Celtic are now in the transfer market window equivalent of the Savoy at midnight.


    All the good looking ones are gone, yer pished, alone, had zero success all night and now willing to say aye to anything that now as much as makes eye contact.



    D :)

  19. Ange said he doesn’t just look at players, he looks at people. Is that wrong now Rodgers has said it?

  20. David66


    Thanks for the earlier response



    Re the dance hall analogy – perhaps we’re the ugly one.

  21. You go out and convince a great manager to return to the club ,then don’t back him in two transfer windows.


    What am I missing CSC

  22. AIPPLE on 1ST FEBRUARY 2024 1:16 PM


    Signing someone on deadline day is like making love to a beautiful women.



    Now…that made me laugh



    Nice n random CSC

  23. data v hunger/passion – I listen to Brendan Rodgers voice and hear the life and energy drained from him. The non-action of the board tells me, you, the manager AND THE PLAYERS – they don’t match our ambition for the title this season.



    This is a window of downsizing – perhaps / probably to re-invest in the quality needed this summer to compete in Europe and take us up a level. They know best



    In doing so we risk losing the title and giving them a significant financial boost that effectively halts our generation of dominance.



    I’d rather we put the boot down on their head!

  24. GEEBEE1978 on 1ST FEBRUARY 2024 2:13 PM


    Ange said he doesn’t just look at players, he looks at people. Is that wrong now Rodgers has said it?






    A very good point. But forgive, P67. He’s simply desperate to lay the fourth consecutive transfer window failure at someone else’s door besides young Lawwell.

  25. Data……as Alan Morrison always points out…Hatate hasn’t great Data…Bernardo has good Data …We would never have signed Hatate on Data but Ange obviously said ..I’ve watched him


    Hatate is top notch….unfortunately it now looks like he’s muscle injury nightmare of a player who will play at most 5 or 6 games and be out 2 or 3 months….loads of players like it…maybe even CCV might now also fall into this category.


    Back to Data…there’s room for it ….but it must have hit a glitch with Lagerbeilke and Nawrocki when the speed analysis bit came into view


    Eye test every time for me