RYAN CHRISTIE has been forced to sit out three Celtic games this season through coronavirus-related issues.

The skilful midfielder was sidelined for the game against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit in October after being deemed to have come in contact with Stuart Armstrong who tested positive during a Scotland international preparation.

And Christie was placed in self-isolation again last week due to government protocols after team-mate Christopher Jullien was found positive for the virus when the squad returned from the ill-fated Dubai trip.

The playmaker and 12 of his colleagues plus Neil Lennon and John Kennedy were in quarantine when the Hoops shed points in draws against Hibs and Livingston.

He is ready to return to first-team action again this evening when the champions go to West Lothian knowing a win is an absolute must in their bid to claw back the 21-point gap at the top of the Premiership.

Looking at his most recent 10 days of isolation, Christie, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “It was very frustrating, it takes a couple days to get your head around it.

“The first time was hard enough, the second time was really challenging. Once again, we’ve come out the other side and want to get back to football now.

“You’ve got to keep yourself ticking over. It was the same back in the middle of last year with the massive lockdown, the club did well to send us out training programmes and stuff.

“I had an exercise bike in the house, I was on that. You try to pick up little hobbies and things to pass the time.”

Christie added: “At a big club like Celtic, when things sometimes aren’t going right, there are so many people who want to jump on you and make it 10 times worse.

“The only way you can answer back as a squad, and as individuals, is play well and win games. That’s what we’ll be looking to do.

“I think the gap takes the pressure off a bit. All we can do now is attack every game with full momentum, try and win three points then the rest of the pressure is on Rangers to keep up that gap.

“Going into the Rangers game, we were in a great run of form. We’d found a flow. But it came to a frustrating end. We’re looking to bounce back and get that flow back.”

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

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