Celtic: Ryan Christie signs new three-year contract that 'tops off an amazing period'

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie
Ryan Christie has scored three times in the last five games for Celtic

Ryan Christie says signing a new three-year Celtic contract "tops off an amazing wee period" and now believes he can become a mainstay of the team.

The 23-year-old scored three times in the last five games and set up the winner against RB Leipzig in the Europa League this month.

"I spoke to the manager early last week," the Scotland midfielder said.

"And he let me know that he definitely saw a path for me at this club and that's all I really needed to know."

Christie joined Celtic from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2015, but he was sent back on loan to his hometown club and two spells with Aberdeen followed.

But the player, whose initial four-year contract was due to expire this summer, remained with Celtic this season and has made 15 appearances this term to cement his place in the first-team squad.

Injuries to captain Scott Brown and France Under-21 midfielder Olivier Ntcham gave Christie his chance and he says scoring in the Scottish League Cup semi-final win over Hearts was significant.

"I think it helped scoring the goal and making a proper impact," he said. "Before that, I'd come off the bench a few times or started without really putting my stamp on the game.

"It's just really snowballed since then. It's been a bit of a whirlwind.

"I do feel that now I've got the confidence in myself to become a mainstay in the starting XI at Celtic."

A run of three goals in three games also led manager Brendan Rodgers to describe Christie as "absolutely outstanding".

"Ever since then, I've been pretty set on continuing my future here at Celtic," said the midfielder. "It's such a massive club with an incredible fan base.

"You're getting the chance to win silverware and make history and, as a player, that's what you want to do in your career."

Christie, who made his Scotland debut in a friendly against Netherlands a year ago, has also been included in Alex McLeish's latest squad and is in line to add to his three caps in the forthcoming Nations League games against Albania and Israel.

Christie worthy of new deal - analysis

Former Celtic striker Scott McDonald

"I think the loss of Moussa Dembele helped his cause in getting more of an opportunity and not having another striker - he was seen as another option to play up top.

"As it's gone on, he's had the opportunity and he's taken it with two hands. You've got to give him credit.

"He's been playing the last three weeks, confidence is high and he will be believing he belongs in there now and will believe that he can.

Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes

"He's shown over the last couple of months how adaptable he is in terms of positions he can play - he can play in that central midfield role, but I think his natural position is a number 10.

"His problem with Celtic is that he is that, when Brown and Ntcham come back, they will start and Rogic is the number 10, but it's great to see him flourish.

"I seen him once at Inverness and he was in the team for the rest of my tenure. All I needed to do was give him the opportunity and he just grasped it and it came to the stage you couldn't leave him out the team."

Former Hearts and Hibernian midfielder Michael Stewart

"Two months on from the end of August and John McGinn doesn't sign, there was a disaster looming at Celtic - the options in midfield were looking paper thin - but now, because of that, Ryan Christie has got his chance. If John McGinn was at Celtic, Ryan Christie would not be getting his chance.

"He's taken his chance wonderfully well, but to be a mainstay at Celtic over the next two to three years, he's got to maintain those levels and, with the confidence levels he has at the moment, there's no reason he shouldn't.

"Celtic play so many games, there is inevitably going to be a rotation of players and, let's be honest, when push comes to shove at the back end of the season and everybody's fit, I would be astonished if Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham are not in the side."

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