Ryan Christie, Celtic midfielder, is a divisive figure.

Not in terms of his personality. No, if anything, he’s never come across as anything other than a nice lad. Recently, his comments on head injuries in football were refreshing, honest and insightful.

As a player, however, he can frustrate. When Celtic are in a wasteful mood, Christie bears the brunt of criticism. He averages just under 3 shots per 90 in the Premiership [WhoScored?], but it seems like more. Especially when they go flying into Row Z, or ZZ, depending on the stadium.

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The statisticians at WhoScored? rate him highly, though [Sky Sports]. Rangers players dominate, but the statisticians have put Christie in their best XI so far this season. In an article on Sky Sports’ website, WhoScored? said [Sky Sports]:

“The first of two Celtic players to make the cut, Ryan Christie was a bright spark in a disappointing season for the Bhoys. Maximising his creative talents, Christie ranked fourth for both key passes (61) and clear-cut chances created (8), while only two players made more assists than the Scotland international (8). An additional four goals helped the 26-year-old to a WhoScored.com rating of 7.33.”

If you’re hearing a grinding sound, it’s the teeth of every Christie critic in a 500 mile radius.

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Ryan Christie Celtic

Ryan Christie celebrates scoring from outside the box / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic man Ryan Christie: objectively good at football, it turns out

We’ve defended Ryan Christie on here plenty. In fact, it’s one of the things I’ve received most criticism for since joining 67 Hail Hail, other than having an indistinguishable East Coast non-accent and looking about 15. Back in January, I suggested that Ryan Christie gets unfairly treated, and is an easy target for ridicule.

 

The numbers suggest that Christie has, in fact, played well. Granted, his shooting from outside the box still needs to drastically improve. But in a season where he’s been played out of position, or amongst a midfield constituted of number 10s, Christie has actually made the team better.

Being a playmaker in Scotland is hard work. Most clubs Celtic face will utilise a low block and crowd central areas, typically where Ryan Christie likes to play. There aren’t many players in the league capable of unlocking tight, stodgy opposition defences with such unerring regularity.

Christie does that. He’s been played out of position constantly, yet he’s still laid on 8 goals in the Premiership this season. It’s good going, and if he upped and left tomorrow, we’d miss his impact.

So, it’s a win for speccy stat nerds who love Ryan Christie. What better to soothe our divided support…?

READ MORE: What John Kennedy has to get right ahead of a tough weekend match-up.

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