Aberdeen striker Marley Watkins has been reflecting on his days with Celtic superstar Ryan Christie when they played together at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Christie started his career in the Highlands before moving to Parkhead when Ronny Deila was manager back in 2015. During his time with Inverness, the Scotland international played alongside Watkins for a couple of years before both moved on in the same summer.
The Celtic man has shot his career to new heights in Glasgow, scoring 36 goals and bagging 34 assists in 109 appearances for the Hoops (Transfermarkt).
Both Christie and Watkins will lock horns in a rematch of Sunday’s 3-3 draw between Celtic and Aberdeen, with a place in the 2020 Scottish Cup final at stake. But in the build-up, the Dons forward couldn’t help but admire his former teammate-turned-rival.
As quoted by the Press and Journal, Watkins said: “I remember how much of a talent Ryan was. He was quality in training and, to be fair, just look at what he’s doing now. He’s playing on a big stage and he’s like the main man at Celtic.
“Ryan’s a great lad and he fully deserves what he gets. I know he did a lot of extra training at Inverness while his Dad’s also been good for him, guiding him well.
“Ryan’s just a great lad and a great talent.”
Christie’s responsibility is a sign of the talent he has
We can all get frustrated with Ryan from time to time – of that there’s no doubt. There can be nothing more infuriating at times than seeing him hit another cross over everyone’s head when he hs plenty of time to deliver it.
But that frustration comes from a level of acknowledgment from the supporters of just how much talent Christie possesses. We expect so much from him because we know he has it in his locker to produce something out of absolutely nothing.
Even though he’s been a touch hit and miss this season, he continues to provide the goods for Celtic time and time again. Last Sunday was proof of the terrific mental state he’s currently in when he struggled to impress for long spells before firing a penalty beyond Aberdeen’s Joe Lewis. It should’ve been the winner too.
Christie will be one of the first names on the team-sheet for Sunday’s game at Hampden against Watkins’ Aberdeen. Rightly so too. Domestically, he has the ability to put any team to the sword on his day, and even though he’s been off form for large spells this season, he’s still producing some hefty numbers.
Christie’s inconsistency this term certainly isn’t reflected in the stats – with 12 direct goal contributions in his 15 games so far this season (Transfermarkt). It’s no wonder he’s thought of in such high regard by former teammates.
Hopefully, he shows exactly why Watkins was right to big him up in Sunday’s rearranged cup semi. First off, however, it’s Lille away in the Europa League tonight.