Ryan Christie is the answer to Celtic's left-side problem

By Connor Gordon

October 29, 2018

Ryan Christie played his way back into the Celtic first-team with that performance against Hearts.

Christie’s 72nd-minute goal was the icing on the cake as Celtic progressed to the League Cup Final.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said he now has the personality when it comes to influencing big matches.

Substitutions were key to victory

Christie came off the bench at half time for Olivier Ntcham; an inspired tactical change from Rodgers.

Christie gave more energy than the Frenchman and Hearts could not cope with him.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Additionally, Rodgers’ introduction of Scott Sinclair at the same time was also influential.

Eboue Kouassi was an early substitution for Sinclair, changing the shape of the team.

With Ntcham and Kouassi both off, it showed that Celtic do not need holding midfielders in some games.

Rodgers went full throttle in attack to take advantage of the dwindling Hearts side.

Christie took full advantage of this as he put in a man of the match performance.

Christie’s influence against Hearts and beyond

Christie could have had a goal earlier on with Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal fumbling a shot over the line.

However, James Forrest secured the goal by smashing the ball into the net.

(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

When Christie did eventually score, he left everyone flat-footed to net a screamer.

Christie has been in form of late, also putting in a shift against Leipzig on Thursday.

Celtic have been without a familiar left-sided player for a while now, with several players tried.

Christie has been given more of an opportunity and appears to have grasped it.

Christie’s inclusion may mean less reliance on holding midfielders like Olivier Ntcham.  (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Christie’s inclusion could also mean a change of shape in future, with less reliance on holding midfielders.

This could mean that the 4-2-3-1 which sometimes throttles Celtic could be scrapped.

Football is about consistency, so Christie must show he can continue this form to maintain his place.