Celtic star tipped by former boss to be answer to Scotland's striker woes

Alex McLeish could do worse by turning to Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie as the answer to his problems up front, according to the player's former manager John Hughes.

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The Scotland boss will likely be without two of his first choice strikers for the upcoming Nations League double-header. Steven Naismith has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury and Leigh Griffiths unlikely to return to full fitness in time.

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Hughes, impressed by the player’s performance in the 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final victory over hearts, believes the unconventional method of playing Christie as one of the team’s strikers could work well.

Celtic's Ryan Christie, right, celebrates after scoring the third for his side in their 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hearts. Picture: SNS
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The former Hibs and Falkirk boss coached Christie during their time together at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. This included Christie playing a part in the Highland side winning the Scottish Cup in 2015 with a 2-1 victory over Falkirk in the final.

Hughes insisted the Celtic player, who’s viewed as an attacking midfielder, can thrive in a more advanced position.

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He told BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme: “I’ll fling a name in: Ryan Christie had a wonderful game at the weekend.

“The reason I’m saying that is that he can play centre forward. He played centre forward for Celtic against Motherwell a couple of seasons ago - 7-0, last game of the season - and got a man of the match performance.

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“I know that Alex likes him. It might be a little bit too early for him. But when you’ve got a guy in form and on a high, he won’t let the country down.”