FORMER Scotland international striker Duncan Shearer reckons Celtic have a ready-made replacement if they lose Tom Rogic.
The Aussie playmaker will enter the final year of his current contract in the summer and has yet to offer any clear indications on his next move.
But ex-Aberdeen star Shearer insists Ryan Christie could slot in to Rogic’s midfield role in Brendan Rodgers’ team.
The 23-year-old Highlander, brought to the Hoops by Ronny Deila from Inverness Caley Thistle in a £500,000 deal in September 2015, has spent the last 14 months on loan at Pittodrie.
Shearer said: “I was looking at a picture of Ryan in a newspaper at the weekend and it’s fair to say he’s filled out.
“You can see around his shoulders and his arms that he has really worked on that part of his game.
“The accusation was he was a little bit too lightweight. I would think that would be a fair assessment, but he seems to have pumped up and built up.
“Ryan has the brain and the knowledge of everything else that is required to be a top-class footballer.”
Although Christie has not been able to make his mark on the Hoops during his rare appearances under Deila and Brendan Rodgers, Shearer believes the situation has changed.
He added: “I think Ryan could slot easily into the Celtic team at the moment, without a shadow of a doubt.
“The time is right for him to make a major impact there next season. Hopefully, Brendan Rodgers will see it the same way for Ryan’s sake.
“I’m really looking forward to watching his career over the next couple of years to see which path it takes, whether it be at Parkhead or not.
“The way Brendan is talking, it does seem that he will be going back and getting an opportunity. I would love to see him kick on and be a big part of that side.
“I really believe this boy can go quite far. In the end, his future is in the hands of one man and those are Brendan’s.
“Ryan can only go there and show his best. He’s capable of that, I’m sure.”
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