20 Midfielder Inverness Caledonian Thistle (on loan from Celtic) Scotland
Two years ago Dundee United’s Ryan Gauld was heralded as the great Scottish hope. The hype was very reasonable and while we were never ones for the whole ‘new Messi’ thing, we really appreciated watching Gauld at Tannadice before his move to Sporting.
Now that particular avenue has proved a touch problematic. Gauld has clearly gained a lot in Portugal, but is still no nearer the first team at Lisbon than he was twelve months ago. In his absence, we turned our gaze north to another Ryan, another tricky midfielder/forward that really excites.
Expressive and assured, Highlands born attacking midfielder Ryan Christie made his debut for hometown club Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their Scottish Premiership match against Celtic in December, 2013. A diminutive figure, Christie can really eat up the ground and has frequently been a joy to watch running with the ball over the last few years. Given an opportunity to flourish by John Hughes, Christie is the type of unpredictable player that turns defenders and makes things happen.
2015 has been….
The rise. Used sensibly by coach Hughes since the start of the year, Christie was one of the main drivers in Caley’s excellent charge up the table last season. His ability to pull defences around was noteworthy while his colleagues took full advantage as The Jags secured a highest finish in the club’s history.
With an impressive season behind him and a place in club folklore earned, the summer arrived with a wave of transfer speculation. Just when it looked as if things had gone a little quiet, Celtic negotiated a four year deal with Caley including a season long loan back at Inverness. This season, things have been considerably tougher going for Thistle but their young star has been in excellent form and is clearly growing in stature.
Unfortunately, a particularly nasty knee injury suffered at Motherwell’s Fir Park has put the skids on Christie’s season, just as he was starting to gain serious momentum. With an option to recall their acquisition in January in place, Celtic have taken the opportunity to ensure that their new asset completes his rehabilitation at first hand in Glasgow and may not now return to Inverness this season.
With club and manager pleading to be reunited with their young star, Ronny Delia may sanction a return north once Christie is able to play again. The duration of how long he is sidelined has varied considerably but we sincerely hope to see him return to action soon.
In all honesty, we believe Celtic have secured an absolute gem of a player who could turn out to be something special. Consistency is going to be key, but it’s been a very long time since we saw a young player in Scotland as composed and influential as Ryan Christie. His ability to beat a man and make passes around corners have really made the boy from Inverness stand out. This isn’t just a kid with a YouTube reel of nutmegs and fancy runs, he can actually deliver when required and will be responsible for plenty of goals. If he can get back to full fitness soon and return to the groove he was in things will explode very quickly for Ryan Christie, for Celtic, for Scotland.
C+ An outstanding prospect, get well soon
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