Outspoken football pundit Michael Stewart has made the bizarre claim that he thinks Ryan Christie could be the striker that Scotland are yet to find.
One of the biggest problems currently facing national team boss Steve Clarke is his lack of options up front. Just last week the former Kilmarnock manager tried both Oliver Burke and Lawrence Shankland in lone striking roles while Oli McBurnie and Eamonn Brophy have also been preferred in the past.
But while Celtic hero Leigh Griffiths sits at home, Stewart reckons that the answer could lie in his club teammate Christie.
“I think he’s capable of playing as a number nine, but not an out-and-out number nine,” Stewart said on BBC Sportsound. (14/10/19)
“We’ve got a problem position in the striker position, and I think Ryan Christie could do a job up there.”
Stewart comments ask a lot of Christie
Stewart’s comments are likely to have forgotten star Griffiths screaming at his radio. The former Hibernian forward has featured precious little for Celtic in recent months while his Scotland career is non existent at present.
There is no doubting that Griffiths is the best forward in the country when fit, but fitness has been a real problem for him in recent times.
Christie, meanwhile, has been a virtual ever present under Neil Lennon this season – missing only the Betfred Cup tie against Partick Thistle when he was rested. He has operated predominantly in an attacking-midfield role and has netted 11 goals so far this season.
But his suitability for a loan striker role, or even a non out-and-out number nine as Stewart says, is still in question. Not many players can just change position and pull it off – especially on the international stage. Christie would never really be considered as a forward for Celtic unless things reached crisis stage so it’s tough to see him being a useful option for Scotland.
However, with two meaningless games to come before next year’s Euro 2020 playoffs, we may see Clarke experimenting soon enough. And that could include Christie playing a new position.