If your name is Ryan Christie, it’s likely that you will have been vilified at some point this year. The Celtic winger has been considerably off the pace, proving to be one of the main culprits in their disastrous season.
The Hoops have surrendered their grasp on the Premiership title and a large reason is that the attack hasn’t flourished as normal.
Christie netted 20 goals last term but has only beaten the opposition goalkeeper on five occasions this term. He has scored just once in 2021 and has netted twice in his last 26 outings. For someone who is usually so prolific, he has been nothing short of abject.
Earlier this term, his conversion rate was a flabbergasting 5%. To say he has been average would be putting it lightly, and the winger’s form hasn’t particularly improved under John Kennedy either; failing to score since Neil Lennon’s departure a month ago.
That being said, Christie returned to form during the international break, putting in a performance for Scotland which will surely have left Celtic’s potential new manager Roy Keane licking his lips.
Christie played in the middle just behind Lyndon Dykes and he was at his free-flowing best in their 2-2 draw with Austria. Although he missed a good chance in the first half, the 26-year-old was denied a stonewall penalty and also claimed an assist.
Christie got into a good position before playing the ball into the path of John McGinn who was able to find the net.
That was one of four key passes from Christie, a tally which proved he was getting back into his creative groove on Thursday night. He stood out even against Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, who was playing at left-back.
The Celtic attacker regularly had the beating of the Austria backline, with Christie amassing an eye-catching four dribbles from five attempted. He was perhaps rejuvenated by playing with a group of players who hadn’t had their morale destroyed by losing the league title.
Either that or he may well be playing for an exit. Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast this week, Frank McAvennie said: “I think Ryan has been one of those trying to play for a move. If everything I’m hearing in Glasgow is correct, then he will be on his way. There is no shortage of clubs looking at him.”
McAvennie hinted that the 26-year-old didn’t get on with Lennon so perhaps a new manager, potentially Keane, could get more out of him. After all, Christie is Scotland’s second top scorer during Steve Clarke’s reign.
There is certainly more to come from him if the new Celtic manager can extract it.