Celtic manager Neil Lennon has offered huge praise to Hoops attacking midfielder Ryan Christie after his immediate contribution on a return to first-team action at the weekend, speaking to Celtic TV.
Christie came off the bench to play his first minutes since December, not taking long to provide a sublime assist for Christopher Jullien to strike and put the Bhoys in front against Hamilton.
It was a crucial assist and allowed Celtic to push on and eventually secure a 4-1 win.
Now, Lennon has suggested his ball for Jullien was so good that it could be compared to Kevin De Bruyne.
The Manchester City man, who signed for the club for an astronomical £55m fee in 2015 (BBC), likely doesn’t come up often in the same breath as Scottish footballers but the quality of Christie’s ball being what it was, Lennon’s comments are understandable.
Speaking club outlet Celtic TV, Lennon said: “His energy’s fantastic, his enthusiasm’s fantastic but more than anything it’s his quality.
“The quality of the ball for the second goal is De Bruyne-esque.
“Having Ryan back after being out for almost a month is such a bonus for us.
“Tom Rogic came on and did a great job, Jonny Hayes did a great job, but Ryan’s having a fantastic season and we’ll see more of him as it goes on.”
A timely return
Christie’s form in the first half of the season was nothing short of sensational, scoring 17 goals and assisting 13 times before the winter break (Transfermarkt).
That contribution puts him right up there with Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest as our most important players of the season.
With Celtic’s schedule remaining heavy over the next few weeks and the tests getting tougher, most notably away to Copenhagen, it’s fantastic that Christie is again pushing for a starting position in Lennon’s team.
The Scotland international’s rise over the last 18 month has been fantastic to witness but something tells me he’s not finished impressing in a Celtic jersey and that he can still reach new heights before the end of the season.