Of all the players who have been disappointing in the last six or so weeks, few have let us down quite so much as Ryan Christie.
There are rumours, of course, that he would rather be somewhere else; on the strength of recent displays he’ll struggle to get the move he wants.
He was the most exciting young player in the country. It took a shockingly long time for him to find his feet and bed into the Celtic team, but when he did it was thrilling.
He’s gone backwards under Lennon, and turned into a very one dimensional footballer whose whole game is about running and shooting on sight.
It makes him dreadfully frustrating to watch.
I think that’s part of the reason he seems to want to leave; he knows he’s regressing.
The silky skills which made him so brilliant to watch at Inverness are being slowly eroded.
He has definitely lost something of his oomph.
For all that, though, I still like to see him in the team … most of the time.
Because although something has definitely been lost from his game, he’s gained something as well, a tremendous work ethic which makes him, for me, one of the most valuable members of the squad.
Right now, though, it’s really all he’s got.
He spends so much of his time chasing after the ball that we don’t see enough of the brilliance that made him such a formidable player these past few years. He is huffing and puffing his way through games, and Lennon’s insistence that he shoot at every sight of goal has turned him into the butt of many an internet joke.
He will benefit, as much as anyone, from a change of manager.
The question is, whether that’s at Celtic or somewhere else. If, when we hire the next guy, Christie decides he wants to stay then I for one will welcome it. But God, he has some bad habits to unlearn.
The current version of Ryan Christie, we could easily replace and probably for less money than we sold him for.
Hard work is not enough.
When you watch Turnbull you see the skills that Christie once possessed, and that makes me sad in two ways … Ryan has lost that under Lennon and Turnbull most certainly will if he has to keep playing under him.
Could Ryan Christie get it back?
Could he be, again, the dazzling performer who blasted back into Celtic contention with a devastating goal against Hearts?
He does not play like someone enjoying his football right now. He plays like a footballer who’s all energy and too little guile … and that’s not the Christie we signed nor the one we should be looking to keep.
He is still capable of moments of genius.
This is why Lennon occasionally winds up smiling from the touchline when Christie blasts something in from 30 yards. There’s a far better player in there, and one we would find hard to replace if we were watching him every week.
He’s the only reason I’d hang onto the current version.