Chris Sutton joined Daily Record reporter Craig Swan on the latest edition of the Record Celtic podcast, where the former Celtic striker spent some time talking about his expected starting XI for the Hoops’ 2019/20 SFA Cup final clash with Heart of Midlothian this Sunday.
Celtic will go into Sunday’s game off the back of two straight wins in all competitions, as within the last week, they managed to beat both Ligue 1 side Lille and Premiership rivals Kilmarnock.
Ryan Christie, who has been a prominent player for the Hoops this term, with only Callum McGregor making more appearances for the Glasgow club than him in the 2020/21 campaign, wasn’t included in the squad for Celtic’s win over Lille last Thursday, while he also missed out on a spot in the starting XI for the Hoops in their Premiership win over Kilmarnock at the weekend.
Now, Sutton has revealed that he expects the £5.85m-rated man to miss out on a starting spot again versus Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday, saying:
“Christie, I know he splits opinion a little bit amongst Celtic fans, but you always know what you’re going to get from Christie – you get 100%.
“Sometimes, I think he tries to force things and rush things a little bit too much, but if you play Christie, I would assume that Neil [Lennon] would play him off the right-hand side – I know he has played off the left-hand side this season.
“And if that’s the case, I think sides who have had success playing against Celtic this season, they narrow up, they fill the centre of the pitch and they defend the width of the penalty box, so therefore, [Jeremie] Frimpong would be the better option in terms of a byline winger, and he seems to be happy without that real defensive responsibility, so I think Frimpong has to start on the right.
“Unfortunately for Christie, I don’t see him playing in any of the wide areas and if I’m honest, I don’t think David Turnbull deserves to be dropped in the ‘10’ role.”
Should Christie start versus Hearts?
TIF Thoughts on what Chris Sutton had to say about Ryan Christie…
The Hoops’ form has ultimately improved in their last two games with Christie out of the starting XI, so maybe there is a case to be made for the player, who, it has been claimed is a £10m target for Ligue 1 side Nice, to be left out of the starting lineup once again on Sunday.
However, in addition to featuring in the vast majority of Celtic’s games this season, you could argue that the Scotland international has been one of the Hoops’ best performers this term, with the 25-year-old earning an overall rating of 7.66/10 from his 14 Premiership appearances this season, per WhoScored, making him Celtic’s highest-rated player in the league for the 2020/21 campaign.
With that in mind, perhaps Neil Lennon should try to find a way to integrate Christie into his starting XI this Sunday.