As you may have noticed, Celtic had a disappointing transfer window. No doubt as a direct consequence of this, Ryan Christie was not released for the final year of his contract, just as he had been for spells during each of his initial three seasons as a Celtic player. He made 13 appearances for Celtic and 67 as a player on loan from the club.
Two months after the end of the transfer window and negotiations are underway on a deal to keep the player at the club beyond next year, deservedly so.
I would love to believe this was the plan all along, that we knew Ryan just needed to add those 20kg and he would be ready to be a creative fulcrum, but I suspect he was below radar and this season’s blossoming surprised everyone outside the Christie household.
At 23, the same age as Jack Hendry, he is still young enough to continue developing. He is two years younger than Callum McGregor, whose fortunes he has linked with in recent weeks. The prodigious football nations of Eastern Europe do not have the luxury of signing players from even the markets Celtic shop in. Instead, they develop players like Ryan and Callum into the graduates who eventually travel west for money we cannot afford.
In a different era, Kieran Tierney would have left Celtic without getting sufficient first team opportunities. Young talent once withered on the vine at Celtic. Let’s hope Kieran, Callum and Ryan, like James Forrest before them, are part of an onward trend.