Unsung Hero: Celtic’s Ryan Christie helps Hoops reach Europa League group stage with tireless display

Unsung Hero: Celtic’s Ryan Christie helps Hoops reach Europa League group stage with tireless display

Celtic cruised into the group stage of the Europa League after a 4-1 win away to AIK last night completed a 6-1 aggregate victory over the Swedish champions.

After depriving AIK of an away goal in Glasgow last week, the Hoops got one of their own on 17 minutes when James Forrest fired to the net after a neat one-two with Odsonne Edouard. [via BBC]

A Sebastian Larsson penalty later in the first half briefly raised AIK hopes but those were extinguished within a minute after an error from goalkeeper Oscar Linner saw him gift the visitors a goal following a superb run from Mikey Johnston. [via BBC]

The tie was effectively done after that goal and Celtic added gloss to the final score with further goals in the closing minutes from Christopher Jullien and Lewis Morgan. [via BBC]

However, the win came at a cost for the Hoops, with Kristoffer Ajer and Edouard both going off injured less than 72 hours before the Glasgow derby with Rangers at Ibrox. [via BBC]

Ryan Christie, Celtic’s top scorer so far this season with eight goals, didn’t get on the scoresheet last night, but he still made a vital contribution to a highly satisfactory away win for Neil Lennon’s side.

The 24-year-old midfielder ended the night with an assist to his name, providing a low, inviting cutback for Jullien’s goal to make it 3-1. [via BBC]

Christie tested Linner with a stinging shot shortly after the goalkeeper’s first-half error, although probably his most valuable contribution to the result came early in the game when he produced a perfectly timed tackle in his team’s penalty area to deny AIK a goalscoring opportunity.

John McGinley of 67hailhail.com gave him a rating of seven, saying that he was “again tireless with his efforts at both ends of the pitch” and adding that “aside from Edouard and Forrest, he must be the first name on the teamsheet these days”.

Herald Scotland’s Neil Cameron awarded him an eight and described him as “football’s hardest worker” while also referencing his “perfectly timed and perhaps goal-saving tackle” in the opening minutes.

Christie might be without a goal in four games after starting the season in hugely prolific form, but he showed against AIK that even when he’s not scoring, he adds plenty to the team with his tremendous work-rate.

Celtic fans, what did you make of Christie’s performance against AIK? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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