Football/Soccer

Ryan Christie 'every bit a Celtic player' insists Bhoys boss Brendan Rodgers

Ryan Christie celebrates after scoring Celtic's first goal during Saturday's 3-0 win over Hamilton. Picture by PA
By Press Association sport staff

BOSS Brendan Rodgers described Ryan Christie as "every bit a Celtic player" after the midfielder shone and scored in the 3-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Hamilton at the Hope CBD stadium on Saturday.

The 23-year-old, who signed for the Parkhead club in 2015 from Inverness, had two loan spells at Aberdeen before returning to the Glasgow club in the summer.

Christie has not looked back since his goal in the 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hearts at Murrayfield on October 28 and he has also forced himself into Alex McLeish's Scotland side, playing in both recent Nations League games against Albania and Israel.

Rodgers believes "confidence" is behind the flourishing of Christie, who signed a new three-year deal with Celtic earlier in the month, and who started the rout at Hamilton after 13 minutes when he swept in a Callum McGregor cut-back.

The Carnlough man said: "He is a really bright boy. I think he knew that at 23, you are not a young player, not 18 or 19.

"Obviously his maturation has taken a bit of time but what he has shown, not only to himself but to a lot of players, (is) the benefits of a loan and the benefits of an individual plan in your development and if you can go out and take it as a positive then when you do get your opportunity, take it.

"I think it is brilliant watching him play.

"You can see the hunger. He has waited and waited for this opportunity at a big club and when it has come he has grasped it and now he looks every bit a Celtic player.

"He has done it against a top-class team in RB Leipzig and in big games for Celtic and he has done it at international level.

"So that will impose confidence right through. He fits the profile of how we play.

"He is an all-action player, he presses the game, he is aggressive and he is a threat in the box.

"It was a nice goal and he nearly scored again at the end. I am absolutely delighted for him."

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