The news today that Ryan Christie is wanted by several clubs in France, and that he is keen on the move, comes as no surprise to any of us, and will almost certainly bring to an end his time as a Celtic player before punters can get their bet365 sign up offers for 2021 this summer.
I take no joy from the writing of that sentence.
A year ago, I would have said that Christie was one of the irreplaceable players at Parkhead, the sort who we should be hanging onto for dear life. I had no idea that his contract was set to expire in 18 months and that he was happy to run it down.
I think it’s deplorable of him, and bad from our point of view as well because we should never have let this situation arise. It was colossally bad management.
It’s been obvious for a long time that Christie and his “advisors” believed he was too good for Celtic. The irony of it is that this delusion has coincided with the worst spell of his entire career, but there, at least, he has an argument in mitigation.
Christie is capable of being one of the most talented Scottish footballers of his generation.
I have never seen such a player go so disastrously backwards.
He is the highest profile casualty of the disgraceful Lennon-Kennedy-Strachan coaching debacle, a player so grotesquely misused and let down by the staff at Lennoxtown that not a single one of them should still be in post.
If you were looking for evidence that our standards in training all but collapsed under these people you need look no further than Christie.
These “coaches” – two of whom remain at Celtic Park let’s not forget – were able, in the course of just twelve months, to transform one of our most promising technical footballers into a one-note player whose propensity for shooting from anywhere – following Lennon’s instructions – turned him into an internet meme and a joke.
The stats on his in-game effectiveness were truly shocking by the time the campaign came to a close.
Christie had gone from being a player I thought we couldn’t do without to one I was frustrated and angry watching and who I wanted to see shipped out the door.
Not all his fault, then, but still … I never got the impression that we were watching somebody fully committed to the cause either, and that’s pretty terrible.
Christie made it clear a while back that he didn’t believe he owed us any loyalty, and why should he?
It’s a mercenary business and he was surrounded by people who were repeatedly telling him he was missing out on the big money and that he was destined to play at the top of the game.
I have no doubt he’ll earn more, but the second part now seems pretty unrealistic.
He remains a Celtic player tonight, but only just.
The writing is on the wall; it says “this way to the exit.”
I never thought I’d be glad to see him go, and I’m not, not really … but I don’t believe he has anything more to offer us. The frustration is in knowing we won’t get a half-decent fee, which is partly his fault and partly our own.