Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that Ryan Christie has ambitions to play at a higher level than the Scottish Premiership in the future, The Daily Record reports.
Despite the team, in general, having a difficult time of it this season, Christie has been one of our more effective performers in the final third.
He’s netted four goals and assisted eight more in 19 appearances (Transfermarkt).
The 25-year-old has also made himself a national hero with a brilliant goal and emotional post-match interview against Serbia, helping to send Scotland to their first major tournament since 1998.
Christie has his critics, but all in all, he’s a fine Celtic player in my view.
Sadly, he doesn’t appear to see Celtic Park as a place to spend his entire career.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson knows the Christie family and appeared to signal his intent to play abroad last week (The Scottish Sun).
Now Lennon has confirmed this is the player’s intention too. Though he is still holding down hope of tying him down to another contract.
As quoted by The Daily Record, the Celtic boss said: “Ryan has also said he would like a different challenge at some stage in his career. Talks are ongoing between the club and his representatives.
“Currently, I think he still has a lot to do and prove here at Celtic and to be fair to him he’s worked really hard the last few games.
“There’s been no agitation or dropping off in his intensity level. He’s just like the rest, a little bit inconsistent at times but we understand that.
“I was delighted with his form going into the international break and he carried that on.”
No short-term dramas for Celtic when it comes to Christie then.
However, it’s bad news for the club that they’ll likely be in a position that forces them to move him on in the future.
The attacking midfielder still has a contract until 2022 but that makes his situation pretty urgent in the context of his value on the transfer market.
If he doesn’t put pen to paper on a new deal before the end of the season, it would make his departure next summer in the wake of the Euros pretty likely.
With contract talks ongoing though, clearly, there is some sort of willingness to commit his immediate future to the club. We’ll be watching that closely.