Our View: Other managers would love to have Celtic's Christie dilemma

By John Reid

February 7, 2020

It says a lot for how well Celtic are currently playing that the performer who was arguably the key man for the team in the first-half of the season can’t get into the side.

Ryan Christie scored 17 goals for the Hoops in the first-half of the season, but hasn’t started a game since the winter break due to a combination of injuries and suspension.

Now he is back fully fit, but has been unable to dislodge the current Celtic midfield, which is going great guns in the 3-5-2 formation that Neil Lennon has established whilst Christie was out.

Current trio playing too well to be dropped

It wouldn’t be fair on the current midfield trio of Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham to leave any of them out of the side, they are playing too well at the moment.

There is no doubt that Christie will get a run in the side once more. He is too good a player not to. His first start of 2020 could come in the Scottish Cup tie against Clyde on Sunday.

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

What has to be said about the Christie situation is that it is a selection dilemma which other managers would love to have.

Few other teams would have the luxury of being able to leave such an important player on the bench, but that is what Celtic have managed to do, and are currently thriving.

In the six games Christie has been left out of the starting line-up, Celtic have scored 19 goals, so they have succeeded despite missing one of the key players of the season.

Played key role off the bench in recent win

Christie has still contributed though, his assist off the bench for Christopher Jullien’s goal against Hamilton helped propel the Hoops to a 4-1 win.

You also wouldn’t bet against Christie finding the back of the net should he start against Clyde.

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

Other Premiership managers would no doubt love to be in the situation Celtic find themselves in with Christie, to bring a game-changing player off the bench, who will be desperate to get back in the starting line-up.

Perhaps if Christie impresses against Clyde, he will return to the starting line-up permanently, but there are no guarantees.