Jackie McNamara expects Celtic star Ryan Christie to flourish next season

By David Walton

May 14, 2019

Former Celtic midfielder Jackie McNamara has admitted that he’s expecting big things from Ryan Christie this season.

It’s been a huge campaign for Christie at Parkhead. In what’s been a real breakthrough season for him, the attacking midfielder has made a sensational 40 appearances for club and country.

Despite that, there have been some injury concerns at times. Christie’s season is currently over having been headbutted by Dominic Ball in the Scottish Cup final last month. It was a blow for both Christie and the club, who have been missing his creative streak as of late.

Ryan Christie’s creative spark has been missed (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

And it’s no surprise that he was McNamara’s pick when it came to one to watch next season. Speaking to Football Insider, the former Dundee United manager bigged up the sidelined flair player.

“He came in, it was sort of later on in the season, he got an opportunity and done well and unfortunately got a bad injury again – he’s picked up a couple of injuries.

“Expecting big things for him, possibly next season. I still think there has to be a lot of change in the set-up next year and a lot of players coming and going.

“The thing about being at Celtic, you need to be consistent week in, week out and handle the demands. He’s had two kind of bad injuries so hopefully he rests up and has a good go at it next season.”

Another reason for Rogic to get going again

Christie’s return ahead of next season has to be a huge warning for Tom Rogic. The Wizard of Oz has been poor since returning to the team against Rangers back in March.

Tom Rogic’s place will be under threat when Christie returns (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Despite that, Christie’s injury has meant that Celtic have struggled for anyone to replace the Aussie when he has been off-key. His performance at Ibrox in particular was extremely off, but Neil Lennon lacked any quality alternatives on the bench.

Having Christie available will hopefully mean that both men can push the other onto greater heights next season. Celtic currently demand a lot more from the number 10 position than they’ve had since Lennon came in the door. It’s as if it’s become a real problem position, despite Rogic’s quality.

But when Christie looks on the campaign as a whole, he has every reason to be delighted. He’s fired himself into the first-team picture and made himself a key cog. Building on that next season is now the most important thing, and McNamara is right to be excited by what he could potentially bring.

Christie’s season is over (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The dynamics will change depending on who Celtic appoint, of course, and that’s key to remember too. There’s no denying any new boss will want Christie in his squad, however. His technical ability is right up there with anyone’s in the squad. How he develops over the next 12 months will be an intriguing sight.

It will be simply sensational for the Hoops to get him back, however. He’s been such a huge miss, and will continue to be until he returns next season.