Ryan Christie picks his Celtic player of year

‘Phenomenal’ Odsonne Edouard favourite to win award

Ryan Christie believes Odsonne Edouard is a stick-on to win Celtic's player of the year. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

Difficult votes will become de rigueur in Scottish football as the game is forced to resolve all the 2019-20 campaign issues with ballots rather than the ball because of the coronavirus lockdown.

One poll is sure to be decidedly straightforward, though. Celtic today open the voting for their supporters to decide on the club’s player of the year, young player of the year and goal of the season.

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When it comes to the first two categories, there isnt an awful lot of brain matter that Ryan Christie requires to exercise to come up with his choices. And the 25-year-old attacker is probably much like most others in deciding 28-goal striker Odsonne Edouard is worthy of his vote in the senior category while he gives breakthrough teenager Jeremie Frimpong the nod for younger classification.

“From the start of the season Odsonne has been phenomenal,” Christie said. “I’m lucky to play behind him or close to him and he’s such a good player. People see his goals and performances during games and he’s been unbelievable. But training with him every day, some of the stuff that he comes out with is ridiculous.

“He would be my pick for his consistency and the big moments he has produced. The scary thing about Odsonne is that he’s still only 22. There is so much potential to unlock yet. He will just keep getting better and better.

“I’ve noticed this season that there are elements of his game improving all the time. His hold-up play is getting better and that’s a big help when we are away from home and need the ball to stick. Odsonne has talent and his nice footwork and goals get a lot of attention. But he also has to do the dirty work and has been very consistent in that sense.”

Christie believes there are “a few contenders” for Celtic’s young player award. Yet, he acknowledges that 19-year-old Frimpong – recruited in the summer from Manchester City for an initial fee of £350,000 that will rise to £1 million with add-ons – has been the “stand out”.

“Mikey Johnston will be there or thereabouts but he’s had a tough time with injury. But Jezza has been a great addition to the squad and has made such a big impact,” Christie said.

“His turn of pace and ability to get down the wing and put crosses in is unbelievable. He is the perfect modern-day full-back and he was probably exactly what we needed. The team was doing well but Jezza gave us that extra lift when he made his debut [in September]. He was our best player for two or three games in a row and looked like he’d been playing there for years.

“Jezza is so enthusiastic. I love him to bits...he’s so funny and genuine. His ‘Oh my days’ stuff after the Betfred Cup final went viral but that’s genuinely what he’s like. We see his personality every day and he has a massive future ahead of him in the game.”

The goal of the season is the only category of Celtic’s three awards not cut and dried for Christie. “Ollie’s [Olivier Ntcham] goal against Lazio in Rome [last November in the Europa League] was a brilliant moment – because of how important it was and the circumstances. It was injury-time, it was to win the game and he was so calm and collected. To finish with a chip like that at any time would have been special. But to do it under that pressure against Lazio to put us into the knockouts was amazing.

“We have scored a lot of goals and there are a few that stand out. But Broony’s [Scott Brown] last-minute winner against Hamilton [in December] shouldn’t be overlooked.

We were all gutted when we lost the equaliser and for him to step up and score was huge. I felt he should have won it last season for his winner at Kilmarnock.

“So maybe he will get it this year because it was a big moment for us in the season.”

• Celtic supporters can vote via the link: https://poty.celticfc.net/home

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