RYAN CHRISTIE’S composure and commitment have marked him out as a crucial Celtic player as the season progresses.

The elegant playmaker displayed his immense qualities during the 1-1 draw against Rennes in the opening game in Europa League Group E in Brittany on Thursday.

Christie looked one of the calmest men in the stadium as he swept in the leveller from the penalty spot in the 58th minute to nullify M’baye Niang’s first-half spot-kick for the French outfit.

The Highlander, who took over the spot-kick responsibilities from Odsonne Edouard this season, goes into action again this afternoon against Kilmarnock and Neil Lennon is looking for another top quality performance from the Scotland international.

The Hoops boss, speaking to the Celtic website, said: “He’s been fantastic. He showed great fortitude to go up and take the penalty, he took it brilliantly and as the game went on he got better and better.

“He’s been superb for me in all the games so far and he’s become a vital player for us. His style and creativity, his energy and fitness levels are fantastic and it’s infectious for the rest of the players.

“He’s turning into a very important player.”

The manager also praised all of his players for the way they responded after a half-time talk-in as they trailed to Niang’s effort with the points slipping away on day one.

He added: “It’s not down to me, it’s down to the players. We can give them instructions, but whether they take that on board is another thing and then they have to go out there and do it.

“It’s very exciting, the players are buying into it and the fans are enjoying what they’re seeing at the minute, but we are only in September.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Kilmarnock this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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