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CELT’S PENALTY AIM

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RYAN CHRISTIE has admitted he is keen to remain Celtic’s designated penalty-taker.

The midfielder blew the opportunity to give the Hoops the lead against Steven Gerrard’s side at Parkhead in December when his first-half attempt was saved by Allan McGregor.

It was an afternoon to forget for Christie and the champions as they suffered their first defeat in the east end of Glasgow to the Ibrox team in nine years – and he came off before the end to undergo an emergency operation on a groin injury.

Making matters even worse for the Scotland playmaker, he was banned for the first three games of 2020 by the SFA after they took retrospective action following an incident with Alfredo Morelos.

Christie has made only one start for the champions in their nine games since the turn of the year – the 3-0 win over Clyde in the Scottish Cup at Broadwood nine days ago – although he came on as a 58th-minute substitute for Leigh Griffiths in the 2-1 triumph over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday.

In his absence, his international and club colleague Callum McGregor scored a penalty in the 3-0 victory over Ross County last month.

SPOT ON…Ryan Christie fires in a penalty-kick in the 5-0 win over Nomme Kalju in July.

However, if Christie is on the pitch and the Hoops are awarded a spot-kick against FC Copenhagen in their Europa League last-32 encounter on Thursday night he will be keen to atone for his miss against Gerrard’s outfit.

Speaking of the possibility of being given the nod to take a penalty, the Highlander, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “I’ve no idea if I will be back on them. I would like to be.

“I still fancy myself after missing that one, but we will wait and see. I’m sure there are plenty boys who will fancy snatching that ball off me.”

Christie added: “I tortured myself after the Rangers game. It’s always easy to think I should have gone the other way or whatever.

“But before each game I will always choose a side and tell Woodsy, our goalkeeping coach, who always helps me. He’ll warn me that if I change my mind then I’m due a fine. I hit it, but it was not my day.

“Cal took the last one. At the start of the season, the manager asked if I fancied being penalty-taker and I was more than happy to accept.

“We will always have a designated penalty-taker before the game, so we will wait and see.”

Christie was also out of luck from the spot in the 4-1 victory over Ross County in Dingwall at the start of December, but was quick enought to tuck away the rebound.

 
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