Celtic action man Ryan Christie has revealed he is delighted at his new playmaking role in the side.
The dynamic midfielder, who was a breath of fresh air as he took last season by the scruff of the neck, is “buzzing” as the onus of creative responsibility now falls at his feet.
Having emerged as one of the first names on the team sheet, Christie battled back from serious injuries, including being stretchered off against Salzburg and a horrific face injury during the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen, to impress new boss Neil Lennon ahead of the season.
Lennon has now told Christie, a revelation last year in breaking up play as well as creating and scoring chances, that the No10 role is his and the player is delighted.
The 24-year-old, who found the back of the net 11 times last year, including a superb winner in the Betfred Cup against the Dons, said: “The position I played against Sarajevo, the No10 role, I love it.”
Christie has impressed in pre-season and was pleased to get his first competitive match under his belt following his Hampden horror.
The Inverness-born Celt had four hours of facial reconstruction for the injury that left him knocked out cold at the national stadium. The doctor who operated on him said it was one of the worst he’d ever treated in 20 years.
That’s all behind Christie now as he relishes his new role in the side. With Tom Rogic still sidelined, he is embracing the challenge of providing a creative spark.
Christie played his part in unlocking the Bosnian’s defence, even if he didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet. And he had high praise for Lennon for getting the best out of his front men.
“When I found out I was starting [in the No 10 role] in Sarajevo I was absolutely buzzing.”
“The gaffer says he sees me in there and that’s music to my ears. He wants me to deal with that pressure.
He continued: “The gaffer is brilliant for all the attacking players in the squad, especially for me.
“He wants us to play attacking football. I love playing in that position and he’s big on getting the ball to me, Odsonne and the two wingers.
“It suits me down to the ground.”
Celtic fans will get a chance to see Christie in tomorrow’s home friendly against Stade Rennais, with Christopher Jullien also set to take his bow.
Then it’s back to real business with the second leg against Sarajevo on Wednesday.