The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Ryan has been too good for Brendan to rest
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says Ryan Christie’s hot streak has made him just too good to be rested.
With a heavy schedule of domestic and European fixtures to be negotiated, the Northern Irishman has made liberal use of his squad.
Last Wednesday’s trip to Motherwell, for example, saw five first-team regulars: James Forrest, Mikael Lustig, Scott Sinclair, Odsonne Edouard and Tom Rogic, all rested.
Christie, though, has been a constant presence.
“Ryan’s played so many games and you do think there might be a point where you take him out,” admitted Rodgers of the winner of the Player of the Month for November award.
“But he’s just enjoying it so much and deserves a huge amount of credit for his talent and mentality.
“In this run, he’s shown he is a top-class operator.
“He hasn’t just done it domestically in the league and finals, he has also done it Europe. “Ryan was outstanding against a top-class Leipzig team and his Scotland games have added to his confidence.
“He doesn’t want to stop. He is intense in his work and that’s why we sent him on loan, to feel that pressure and intensity.
“Ryan has coped well and is playing at a top level.”
Another player Rodgers is hoping will be on song for the visit of Salzburg to Celtic Park on Thursday night is Odsonne Edouard. “Odsonne has been very good in Europe. He has great assets – speed, touch and movement,” he said.
“He’s not wide but he’s physical, stronger than you would think, and the defenders will tell you he’s hard to knock off the ball.
“He’s improving all the time and is making great strides at the top level.” And if both men will need to be at their best to down a side who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last year, Rodgers insists the club are right where he would want them to be.
“I’d have taken this scenario at the start of the group – absolutely,” he said.
“All you can do is have it in your own hands. Thankfully, going into the last game, we have that. “If we can come through, it would be absolutely brilliant as we have faced three good sides in the group – two Champions and a top Leipzig side.
“It would be a great achievement for us and that is the aim – to make it past Christmas.
“I said to the players at the start if they got 10 points they would come close.
“If you don’t get through with 10, you’d be very unlucky. We have a chance to finish with 10 or 12, and that would be great.”