John Hartson calls out Celtic for Ryan Christie contract turmoil

By David Walton

July 25, 2021

John Hartson has been left absolutely perplexed by the fact that Ryan Christie has been allowed to go into the final few months of his Celtic contract.

Christie has been one of the standouts under new boss Ange Postecoglou over the summer. The attacker has returned to action with some strong displays against Midtjylland and West Ham United respectively.

The attacker will again be one of the main men when the Hoops travel to Denmark in the UCL second qualifying round second-leg clash vs Midtjylland. But he’ll do so with a contract that expires in only six months’ time.

And Hartson can’t believe Celtic are close to letting one of their best talents go for nothing. Instead, he feels Christie should’ve been tied down long ago.

Speaking on Premier Sports after yesterday’s 6-2 loss to West Ham [Premier Sports 1, 24/07, 16:58], Hartson said: “No they can’t (allow Christie to leave for nothing), they might have left it too late though.

“Why have they let his contract run down to six months left on it? That’s the issue, they should’ve got him signed up two years ago on a long-term deal. He’s one of their best players.

“They’ve allowed him to go into the final six months of his contract and he’s now going to take advantage of that now, I believe.”

Celtic can’t force Ryan Christie to sign a new contract

Hartson is right to an extent. Celtic could’ve handled this better, but only by selling Christie when we had the chance.

There were reports last year that the likes of Nice were preparing an offer of around £10m for Christie’s services [Scottish Sun]. In the end, that never came to fruition.

Celtic should’ve pushed harder at that point to sell him off. We had a ready-made replacement in David Turnbull waiting to take over in the number 10 role. Bagging £10m or anywhere near it for the playmaker would’ve been a lot more productive for the club than what Ryan produced on the field last term.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

However, Celtic can’t force Christie to sign a new contract. The Scotland international has been in talks with the club stretching back in late 2020. He’s actively stated in the past that he was in no rush to sign [Sunday Post].

If Christie eyes his long-term future elsewhere, that can’t be helped. We can’t sign up a player on a long-term deal if the player in question doesn’t want it. That’s the problem we’ve had with Ryan and it doesn’t look like changing.

Celtic should’ve had him sold before now. That’s where we went wrong. Now we’ve got a player who could be come influential again before departing for nothing mid-season. Something could happen between now and then that keeps Christie in Glasgow, but there’s no sign of that happening anytime soon.

In other news: Gordon Strachan discusses what Celtic boss’ original plan was for West Ham friendly