Celtic face off against Hamilton tomorrow night at Celtic Park and Accies boss Brian Rice has been talking up the quality of stand-out star Ryan Christie, The Scottish Daily Mail report (03/12 print edition, page 84).
Rice worked with the attacking midfielder as a coach, back when the pair were still at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, so managed to witness up close just what kind of potential the player had as a teenager.
The Accies man was always a fan of the player and has given the player great credit for his rise at Celtic over the last 18 months.
For Rice, the way he conducts himself reminds him of another Scottish Premiership star he worked with previously, Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (03/12 print edition, page 84), he said: “He’s very similar to Scott Arfield, whom I also had as a kid at Falkirk. They both love their football and you can see that reflected in how hard they both worked.
“They were the ones you had to drag off the training ground because they were always staying behind to do extra sessions and practise different things.
“It’s not a coincidence that the pair of them have kicked on because they put so much into their game. Ryan has been outstanding and he’s now a major player for Scotland as well.”
Reaching new heights
When Christie burst onto the scene in Brendan Rodgers’ side last season it was obvious he was something of a gamechanger in the Celtic midfield. He had a confidence and work ethic more reminiscent of Kieran Tierney than Tom Rogic, but still had the skill and lethal finishing ability to make him more than just a battler.
This season he’s taking his all-round game to new heights again.
Currently, he stands alone as our top scorer, with 15 so far this term. That’s ahead of much-hyped stars such as Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest. While it’s not a personal competition, it is evident that he is one of our most crucial players right now.
With versatility, a level head and apparently a love for the Hoops, what more could we ask for in an attacking midfielder?
Not much more, let me tell you.
Rice’s Arfield comparison is a little bit of an odd one, but clearly he sees similar personality traits. Hopefully, this Sunday Christie can show he’s a class above anyone on the Hampden pitch, not least the Rangers man.