Neil Lennon confirms Celtic midfielder is putting himself in shop window

By Euan Davidson

June 12, 2021

Neil Lennon has stated that Celtic man Ryan Christie is very much in the shop window at Euro 2020.

Bafflingly, in his Times column, Lennon also insisted on Christie’s best position. We’ll get to that, but let’s just say for now that it makes some of the ex-Celtic boss’ tactical decisions in 20-21 very confusing.

The former Bhoys boss, who left in February of this year, has already made waves with the Times. Last week, he was speaking out against a “new breed” of Celtic supporters, earning plenty of criticism in the process. Now, he’s reviewing Scotland’s chances at Euro 2020, and while it’s a less controversial read, it’s certainly an interesting one.

Of Christie, Neil Lennon said [The Times]:

“With Ryan Christie’s contract situation at Celtic he’ll want to put himself in the shop window and try to peak for this tournament. Steve has gone with Ryan off the striker and I think that works for him. Number ten is Ryan’s best position. He’s a fit lad, he gets around the pitch. You need legs all over the park.”

This, despite playing Ryan Christie on the right more often than not during 20-21 [Transfermarkt]. It was a source of incredible frustration for Celtic supporters, with Christie constantly trying to cut inside and shoot on his favoured left foot.

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Neil Lennon comments about Ryan Christie are more than a little frustrating

In regards to the Scotland star’s contract situation, well, that’s probably not Neil Lennon’s fault as such. Lenny might well have wanted Christie to sign a new deal, and plead his case to the board regarding the player’s future. So many contract scenarios, not least Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard, have been a source of anxiety for the Hoops faithful.

Ryan Christie celebrates scoring from outside the box / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As for the positioning thing, that’s on Lenny. Granted, he had injury issues to deal with, what with James Forrest missing the majority of the season. However, if he knew Christie was best playing off a striker, as proven in previous, prolific seasons, then a right-sided attacker to back Forrest up ought to have been brought in.

Or, prodigious talent Karamoko Dembele ought to have seen more game time.

Again, we don’t know how much of that transfer folly is Lennon’s fault, or the board’s, but it’s immensely frustrating. While yes, Christie is pacy and his inside runs occasionally yielded superb finishes, there was a total lack of rhythm up front for the majority of 20-21.

As for the shop window comment, well. That’s is very much its own issue. Ryan Christie has borne the brunt of a lot of fervour over recent months. However, even by his former manager’s admission, he wasn’t playing in the right position most of the time. Now, it seems likely he’ll move on, because his contract is nearly up.

So, aye. Cheers for that.

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