Our View: Ryan Christie has battle on his hands for place in Celtic side

By John Reid

February 12, 2020

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was full of praise for midfielder Olivier Ntcham in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Hoops’ game against Hearts on Wednesday night.

“He’s one in great form. His goal at the weekend was fantastic. He compliments Brown and McGregor really well and his professionalism has always impressed me” Lennon said, as quoted by the Celtic Twitter account.

Interestingly, Ntcham’s recent starts in the Hoops side have mostly been at the expense of Ryan Christie, who was arguably Celtic’s best player in the first-half of the side.

17-goal player may be back on bench

The duo started against Clyde recently, but with Callum McGregor set to return to the side against Hearts, Christie might have to be content with a place on the bench against the Tynecastle side.

Celtic star Ryan Christie / (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Few would have expected that after the first-half of the season Christie had, where he scored 17 goals. However, judging by Neil Lennon’s comments, the midfield trio of Brown, McGregor and Ntcham will start for the Hoops for time being.

Some Celtic fans might well point out Christie could play on the wing. However, it is not his best position, he is far more suited to playing in the middle of the park, that is where he has thrived in his time at the club.

Deserves to keep first-team place

However, at the moment Ntcham has taken his place in the side, and it has to be said that the Frenchman deserves to stay in the team.

The situation regarding Ntcham’s upturn in form since the winter break and where that leaves Christie was recently discussed on a video on the 67 Hail Hail YouTube channel.

Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The consensus reached in the video was that there is no way that Ntcham can be dropped, as he is currently playing too well, and that Christie may have to bide his time before returning to the first-team regularly.

It is a good problem for Celtic to have, with two excellent players battling it out to be selected for the first-team.

At the moment, Ntcham is the man with the place in the starting line-up, but he will have to keep playing well, as Christie will be on his heels to get back into the side.