If last night’s 4-0 win for Celtic was the only Hoops game that incoming manager Eddie Howe had ever seen, it’s likely Ryan Christie would be part of the club’s future.
Sorry folks, but the Scot actually looked much improved while playing in a central position for the Bhoys on Wednesday evening.
In fact, Celtic as a whole looked a lot more promising. The Glaswegian’s have endured a torrid season but on Scott Brown’s farewell to Paradise, they put in a performance the midfield veteran would be proud of.
John Kennedy’s men swept aside St Johnstone 4-0 in a clash that for once, put a smile back on the player’s faces.
Brown may not have been lifting the Premiership title but there were plenty of positives on Wednesday to think that a brighter future is possible at Celtic.
The fact Christie even stood out said a lot.
The Scotland international has had a torrid campaign and has been relentlessly hounded by members of the Green Brigade for his shooting.
With James Forrest out injured for such a long period of time, the attacker was forced to play in a wide position, away from his favoured area centrally.
Last season Christie produced 20 goals and 16 assists but 2020/21 has been incredibly unkind to him. The 26-year-old has scored just seven times in comparison and has only found the net twice in his last 23 league outings.
That said, when afforded the chance to play through the middle against St Johnstone, he took the opportunity with aplomb.
Christie’s goal drought wasn’t ended but alongside David Turnbull in midfield – someone who did find the net – he looked incredibly comfortable.
There will be tougher and sterner tests to come but Christie was one of Celtic’s most important players.
The vast majority of the play came through him with the attacking midfielder having more touches (126) than any other player on the field. Meanwhile, Christie’s tally of 97 passes was only third to the centre-back pairing of Stephen Welsh and Kristoffer Ajer.
Keen as ever to get on the ball and make things happen, the Scot provided three key passes; the same number as James Forrest and one fewer than Turnbull.
Christie has been torn apart this term but instead of looking to score from impossible positions on the field, he looked to create more for his teammates on Wednesday. The fact he picked up his fourth assist in his last seven games was a testament to that.
It’s hard to suggest his performance was out of this world but judging by some of the other displays we’ve seen from him this term, it was a great improvement.
If Christie is in the shop window ahead of a potential summer move, he will have done his cause no harm here.