Celtic's Ryan Christie is close to beating standard set by title winner

By John Reid

October 12, 2019

Ryan Christie’s goalscoring exploits from midfield had added a new dimension to the current Celtic side. He already has 11 goals for the season, which is a remarkable return that a striker would be proud of.

It is interesting to compare Christie to some of Celtic’s great attacking midfielders of the recent past. One such player he bares comparison to is Craig Burley.

Burley was a key player for the Hoops when they won their first league title in a decade in 1998. He had the same habit of scoring goals in important games like Christie. His form was so good that the Scottish football writers named him as their player of the year.

However, despite playing his part in one of the Hoops most memorable seasons, the statistics show that he only scored 13 goals for the Hoops in 1997-98, in 46 apperances.

Chance to beat player’s goal tally before Christmas

(Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport)

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That is still a decent return, however, Christie has a real chance of reaching that mark and perhaps beating it before Christmas.

However, Christie should be aiming to score 20 goals for the season, which would be an excellent return for a midfielder.

The main difference between Burley’s time at Celtic and now is the number of extra games the Hoops will play, especially in Europe.

Last season Christie played 38 games, only eight shy of Burley in 1997-98, and he missed a fair amount of the season with injury.

Looks set to play more games than last season

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

This season he has already played 19 games, half of last season’s total, and he could play more games than the 46 Burley played in that title winning season.

Should Christie match the 46 games played by Burley, he could well double the former Bhoy’s 13 goals. Hopefully that be a similar launchpad to a Celtic title win, as Burley’s goals proved to be.

He could even be rewarded with individual honours like Burley was, but for most fans, helping the Hoops to nine in a row will be enough.