Ryan Christie has enjoyed a phenomenal start to the season, but he faces a tough task on Friday night that could determine just how good he truly is.
Christie has smashed in eight goals and five assists in just 12 appearances so far this season, a stunning effort to kick off the new campaign.
His form has been so good in fact, that John Hughes recently said the youngster “must be on the radar of big Premier League clubs”, per The Scottish Sun.
Now, while this isn’t exactly what Celtic fans want to hear, it is a massive compliment to the 24 year-old, and it will come as no surprise that he is expected to start Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Russia on Friday night, per BBC.
The report places the Hoops starlet on the left-side of midfield, where he will come against perhaps Russia’s best player, Mario Fernandes.
The attack-minded right-back was born in Brazil, but acquired Russian citizenship in 2016, and wowed spectators at the 2018 World Cup – WhoScored gave him a 7.42 overall rating for his performances at the tournament, as he scored once and assisted once in five showings.
He has been in fine form again this season, racking up ratings of 8.22, 7.38, 8.22, 8.69 and 7.19 in his last five CSKA Moscow appearances, earning man of the match twice, scoring two goals and grabbing an assist in that time, per WhoScored.
Fernandes is no slouch defensively either, mustering up 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game this campaign, while the stats site list some of his strengths as aerial duels, defensive contribution and concentration.
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Quite simply, this is a well-rounded full-back more than capable of playing at the highest level – he has 36 Champions League appearances to his name and was attracting interest from Premier League sides this summer.
If Christie can rock up to Hampden and put on a show against Fernandes, it will not only put him on the radar of big teams just as Hughes suggested, but it will confirm what Celtic fans have likely suspected for quite some time – this is a truly top player in the making.