Since long before we signed him, I was a fan of Ryan Christie. With Brendan having turned around so many Celtic players, I am still amazed that he didn’t give this kid a chance to show what he could do in our famous Hoops. The time will come though. Ryan is far too good not to come home and be a player here. He has everything.
When I was writing about Gordon Strachan’s reticence in terms of selecting players at Scottish clubs, I mentioned Aberdeen. I had in mind Kenny McLean, Graham Shinnie and Stevie May. Even I had forgotten, temporarily, the player who is arguably their brightest star.
This can’t last. Ryan is a player who, at some point, will explode onto the scene in a way that can’t be ignored or overlooked. He is that good. Mark Reynolds, his Aberdeen team mate, described him this week as “the finished article” and I would broadly agree. I think he’s easily good enough to be in the Celtic squad at this moment in time.
I also understand why Brendan has allowed him to go out on loan.
Ryan is too good to be sitting on the bench. He is too good to be waiting weeks at a time for a spot in the team. There are so many good players at Celtic who play in his position; Callum McGregor exploding onto the scene is the latest footballer who’s performances are so good that they would have severely limited Ryan’s opportunities here.
Aberdeen wanted to buy him in the summer. Celtic said no, resoundingly. They know what this kid is, they know the potential he has, and they want him playing every week and getting the regular football that will make him the player we know he can be.
The Pittodrie club will be the initial beneficiaries of this; he is, in essence, their Patrick Roberts. This is the second extended loan spell he’s spent there. Their fans love him, and why shouldn’t they? He has made thirteen appearances for them this season and scored three times. He is exciting to watch. He is dynamic, energetic and skilful.
His contract at Celtic runs until 2019; he is almost certain to be granted an extension.
He is two years younger than Callum McGregor. Callum was a year younger when he first went out on loan to Notts County in 2013. It took him another two years to become a first team regular and only last season became a crucial part of it. These things take time.
At 22, Ryan has more than a decade at the top of the game in front of him. Time is on his side. He already has a Scottish Cup winners medal and a Young Player of the Year award. He is special. Everyone who’s ever watched him knows it.
Right now, he is the forgotten man of Celtic Park … except I suspect few at our club have actually forgotten about him. Brendan will be getting constant reports about his progress. He will be up to date on what this young man is getting up to.
His time will come. Ryan Christie will be a Celtic first team player. His versatility would make him an asset right now. By the time he’s back he’ll have almost 150 SPL games under his belt … at 23. That is an awesome statistic and one that should focus minds.
He has played a little over a dozen times for Celtic since he signed two years ago as a twenty-year-old prodigy. Some say that proves the move was the wrong one. What nonsense some of these people talk. Ryan knows how good he is and he has been patient.
But the wait will be over soon enough.