MAN OF THE MATCH Ryan Christie has at long last been given the opportunity – even if it was just for 45 minutes – to prove to both Brendan Rodgers and The Celtic support that he should be played in the number 8 position in midfield for the Champions.
Christie has been used recently as a substitute striker, mostly as a result of the transfer deadline day sale of Moussa Dembele. And with Leigh Griffiths sidelined, meaning that Odsonne Edouard is the only available centre forward at the moment, the former Inverness Caley man would probably have thought that he’d be played up top if he came on from the bench.
Yet with the game goalless at the interval Brendan Rodgers withdraw Olivier Ntcham and threw Christie on to devastating effect. Hearts were simply blown away and knocked out of the Betfred Cup semi-final, by this Christie inspired Celtic side that scored three times and could have doubled or trebled that tally, such was their dominance.
Ryan Christie, who is in the last year of his contract at Celtic, was sensational. He won the penalty, set up the second and scored a wonderful third – the best of the day.
Afterwards at the press conference Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the player and revealed that talks have begun to make sure he is at Celtic for the long term.
“Ryan is someone that, of course, we would look to commit to,” Brendan said.
“The club have been talking to his representatives. I’m not aware of any movement as I tend to focus on working with the players.
“But he is in his last year and we have had other players, like Stuart Armstrong, in the same situation.
“My focus is on making them better as players, giving them a future here to be involved and be part of.
“Hopefully the other stuff can sort itself out, but he is definitely a player that we would love to keep as he is a fantastic player.
“You saw his contribution today. You saw it at Aberdeen when he was there. It was step-by-step but now he is 23.
“He is at a really good age to come in and have the personality to play at a big club.
“He did well against Leipzig so he can make a valuable contribution to this team.
“Here Ryan’s was just a sensational individual performance. Playing in midfield as one of the eights, his intensity, quality, his pressing, everything.
“It’s been a process with Ryan. When I first came in, I felt he could be in and around the squad and he played some games.
“But for him to be able to give his best to Celtic and cope with the pressures of being at a big club, he had to go out and feel that pressure on a weekly basis.
“He went to a great club in Aberdeen with a great manager, so he felt that pressure playing.
“He scored a brilliant goal and was involved in two others.”
Also on The Celtic Star and clicking on these links helps this site enormously….
Jim Craig – Bobby Lennox wins the League Cup for Celtic…See HERE
Sheep shock Steven Gerrard as Rangers are beaten at Hampden…See HERE
“Ryan Christie had a sensational individual performance,” Rodgers…See HERE
Broken Hearts as Celtic dish out Capital Punishment…See HERE.