Ryan Christie had a torrid time last season becoming the target of Celtic fans' frustrations as the bid for 10 In A Row collapsed.

His frequent shooting from range and often aimless performances left many wondering just what had happened to the star that had shone so brightly in previous campaigns.

However, under Ange’s mentorship Christie is already looking back to his old self in Celtic’s new-look system which takes advantage of his high-intensity play and attacking output.

It's clear to anyone watching him, the flaws in Ryan’s game seen throughout much of the previous season were instructional and tactical decisions from the previous coaching setup that have been quickly removed by Ange Postecoglou.

I’ve looked through a few different data metrics to try and visualise the early improvement we have seen from the player.

The data used will be from all games this season due to a limited sample size and be compared to the league numbers from last season. Hopefully showing this will make it clear just how Ange has begun to transform both player and club.

READ MORE: Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou's 'selective' transfer comments show he's now dictating transfer business


Before looking specifically at Christie, I wanted to show how changes in systems and tactical decisions show up when examining data. The decrease in average shot distance from Celtic indicates a move from Ange to create higher quality chances closer to goal. I would expect that as the sample size grows as time goes on we will see the average shot distance continue to reduce as the team become more accustomed to the system. This decision has certainly benefitted Christie as he focuses on creativity and recycling possession instead of low-quality, long-range efforts.

Celtic Way:

When specifically looking at Christie the differences between last season and what we have seen so far are stark. Last term, the majority of Christie’s shots came from outside the box (53), with only 42% (38) coming from inside the area. Since Ange came in the change has been dramatic, with 80% (12) of Christie’s shots now coming from inside the area and only 20% (3) from outside. One of these 3 shots from outside was a close-range free-kick whereas the other two came from central areas just outside the box. Even if Christie is shooting from distance, he is now doing it from the most effective central locations.

Celtic Way:

The effects of the change in shot locations is clear when looking at his expected output. He has almost doubled his xG/shot from 0.089 to 0.16 this season. This translates to almost every shot this season being around twice as likely to end up in the back of the net.

Celtic Way:

In terms of Christie’s attacking threat, his reduction in shots from distance has allowed him to show more creativity, increasing the number of opportunities he creates. Also, he has scaled up his presence in the box as he is more likely to progress the ball to work better opportunities. This was seen against Midtjylland where he drove into the box and his shot rebounded to Abada for the opening goal.

READ MORE: Celtic's Mikey Johnston must put injury trouble behind him if he wants a future in Parkhead

Celtic Way:

Due to better instructions and movement off the ball from teammates, he also has more space to work in. This allows Christie to isolate players more often in one vs one situations and use his athleticism and strength to go drive past players as we saw against Dundee. This improvement is drastic with his offensive duel rate rising more than 11% since coming into Ange’s system.

Celtic Way:

What makes Ryan Christie perfect for the high pressing system is his energy and defensive volume. Having more defined instructions on where to be on the pitch and when to press and counter-press has allowed Christie to increase volumes of defensive duels, interceptions and recoveries. This helps Celtic gain more final 3rd transitions where creating chances becomes easier due to the opposition not being set defensively.

Celtic Way:


Christie has been the perfect example of what happens when a good player is given poor tactical instructions. With last season's long-shot madness in the past, Christie will look to deliver the quality he has always been capable of.

He has won the fans back with his energy and application in the new system under Ange that takes full advantage of his strengths and works to maximise them.

The only remaining concern is his contract situation, but hopefully the club can tie him down for the next few seasons at least because, on this form, Celtic are going to need him.