Celtic: Ryan Christie continues to be a problem

Celtic are no longer Scottish champions; that sentence has been unthinkable over the last decade. The Hoops took home nine consecutive league titles to Parkhead but their dominance is now well and truly over. Thanks very much, Neil Lennon.

You can blame a number of factors. Of course, Lennon will take much of the responsibility. His side lacked quality this term but a number of his players made countless individual mistakes.

You can also blame the hierarchy and their inability to recruit adeptly or sack Lennon when things first started to go wrong.

There is also the James Forrest factor. The attacker has been missing since September and the Bhoys have hardly coped well since.

He returned to action in the 0-0 draw with Dundee United on Sunday but failed to inspire the win that would have left Rangers waiting at least a few more weeks to wrap up the title.

A number of players were poor at the weekend. Odsonne Edouard wasn’t his ruthless self while Diego Laxalt missed a simple chance and was caught out plentiful times defensively.

However, in the thick of it, a certain Ryan Christie disappointed again. The winger has been playing in a more central area of late but despite getting into the right areas, his end product was deserting him.

Should Christie be sold?

Yes, get rid!

Keep him!

Keep him!

The thought of a move to either Arsenal or Leeds, something that was touted last January, seems dumbfounded now. The Scot has scored just twice in his last 25 matches, with one of those goals happening to be an absolute peach in the Scottish Cup final.

He was influential on that day but he has been abject since. Commenting after his performance against Aberdeen last month, Frank McAvennie called Christie “non-existent.”

Indeed, it’s hard to argue against that notion. The 26-year-old has been letting his team down for a number of months now and has become a huge problem, not only to his colleagues but also the club’s hierarchy.

Against Dundee United on Sunday, he picked up some nice pockets of space to provide four key passes. Yet, beyond that, there was a lack of threat. Most of Celtic’s play came from wide areas where Jonjoe Kenny and Mohamed Elyounoussi were keen to get on the ball.

That meant that Christie’s influence was ultimately limited with Dundee United crowding out central areas. They played with a low block which meant he only attempted one dribble. On top of that, both of his shots towards goal were pretty tame.

What summed up the winger’s day was his wastefulness. Only a few weeks ago Christie spurned four chances in Celtic’s 1-0 defeat to Ross County. On this occasion, it was his touch and passing that let him down.

He finished the match with a pass success rate of just 68%. Of those to start the game for the Hoops, only Edouard had a worse percentage. Furthermore, Christie surrendered the ball on no fewer than 20 occasions. That happened to be the worst number on the pitch from a player in green and white.

For someone who scored 20 goals in 2019/20, the attacker has been nothing short of abysmal this term. He has become the scapegoat for when things go wrong but he’s doing himself no favours.

With James Forrest in contention to play in the Old Firm derby, Christie’s spot should be under threat.

Even the much-maligned Scott Brown is performing better at the moment. His Celtic career looked dusted a few months ago but he has bounced back well. Christie must be craving a similar revival.

AND in other news, Imagine him & Turnbull: Celtic must swoop for 35-goal star who’s “impossible to beat”…

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