RYAN CHRISTIE could be a big shot in England’s top flight.

That’s the verdict of the Celtic playmaker’s father Charlie who had a spell at Parkhead during Billy McNeill’s second regime in the late eighties.

The Hoops star completed the season behind 28-goal Odsonne Edouard as the champions’ top marksman as Neil Lennon’s men lifted their ninth successive title and also the Betfred League Cup to take their haul of consecutive domestic honours to eleven.

Charlie Christie, who was a striker in his playing days in Glasgow and Inverness, reckons his son would thrive in the Premier League – although he insists the Scotland international is perfectly happy at Parkhead.

He told the Glasgow Times: “Ryan is very ambitious and he loves playing for Celtic.

“But I have no doubt there will be other clubs looking at him. To score 20 goals from midfield by March, it would be mad for scouts not to have him on their radar – and I mean at the very top level.

“I would temper that by saying that he’s having the time of his life at Celtic. He’s got a nice flat in a nice area of Glasgow and he says there’s a real bond in the changing room and he’s very close friends with a lot of guys in there.

“I think Ryan could play at that level, there are a lot of Celtic players who could.

“They have an abundance of talent. We watch the English Premier League and see how John McGinn has thrived, how Stuart Armstrong is doing so well. I just don’t think we give our players enough credit.”

Christie, 25, was a £500,000 purchase from Inverness Caley Thistle by Ronny Deila in the summer of 2015 and made the first-team breakthrough at the champions in October 2018 after an outstanding display as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 Betfred League Cup semi-final victory over Hearts at Murrayfield.

He cemented his place in the line-up with the winner in the Final against Aberdeen, the club where he spent 18 months on loan before flourishing in the east end of Glasgow.

For the statically-minded, Christie scored 19 goals for the club last season and not 20 as his dad mistakenly said. If the campaign had not been forced into cold storage due to the coronavirus pandemic with eight leagues games to play and the possibility of two in the Scottish Cup, the odds would have been on an in-form midfielder crashing the 20-goal barrier.

The player still has two years to run on his contract.

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