Celtic started a new chapter on Tuesday night with a returning character who has wrote and starred in so many chapters before. Neil Lennon took his place in the dugout for the bhoys as the full time Celtic boss for the first time in over five years. Yes, the Irishman has been in the door since late February but in terms of new beginnings, the 3-1 win over Sarajevo got Neil Lennon’s second tenure underway.
Neil had tried to continue Brendan Rodgers’ work until the end of the season without disrupting too much of what the double treble winning boss was doing. Now he has the reigns, everything decision is his to make and that creates an amount of uncertainty among the playing squad.
Favourites from the previous regime and players who had just broken through in the past 12 months will be questioning whether their progress will continue with a new man at the helm.
Ryan Christie would have been one of those players. At the start of last season, the midfielder looked certain for a quiet Celtic exit, but by October he dragged Celtic kicking and screaming to the League Cup final after his half time introduction at Murrayfield. The game against Hearts the genesis of Christie’s rise at the club. He would go on to cement his place in the side and even scored the winning goal against Aberdeen in the League Cup final – the first trophy of the treble treble season.
While he has come on leaps and bounds, he knows himself the competition is fierce and under a new man, his time could be limited. However, the midfielder spoke of his delight at getting to Bosnia on Monday and finding out he was in the starting line up. Missing most of Neil Lennon’s interim run as Celtic boss with a horror injury, the midfielder was ‘buzzing’ to see the manager put his faith in him.
Speaking to RecordSport, Christie describes the moment he found out he was playing but not only that but where he was playing made his night.
“The position that I was playing in Sarajevo, that No.10 role, I love playing in there. When I found out I was starting I was absolutely buzzing.
“The gaffer says he sees me in there so that’s music to my ears. He wants to me to deal with that pressure.
“It was amazing to get back on the pitch. It’s been a long time, even since February it’s been frustrating with injuries.
“Touch wood that I’m back in for the long run now and can really kick on.”
Ryan is a perfect example of someone who has put in the work and waited for his opportunity. Aberdeen on loan for 18 months followed by a quiet spell at the club and now look at him. Patience is the key!