Scotland's Ryan Christie reflects on '˜two head-butts in a week'
Scotland boss Alex McLeish overcame nine withdrawals to put together an exciting and pacey side which won 4-0 in Albania on Saturday night to take them within 90 minutes of a play-off spot for Euro 2020.
His team moved on to six points along with Israel and any win at Hampden will secure top spot in Group C1.
Christie wants Scotland to continue from where they left off in Albania. The 23-year-old said: “We were looking to go out to Albania and get a solid victory, which we did – four goals and a clean sheet.
“So that will give us the confidence and momentum going into Tuesday night which we all know is a big game.
“It will be nice to be on home soil again and hopefully we can carry this result on to Tuesday night.”
The Celtic midfielder was at the heart of most of the major talking points in Albania. He set up wide man Ryan Fraser for his first goal in national team colours after 14 minutes before home skipper Mergim Mavraj was sent off six minutes later by referee Vladislav Bezborodov for a headbutt on the former Inverness and Aberdeen player.
Just before the break Christie won a free-kick at the edge of the box, from which Stuart Armstrong’s strike at goal was judged to have been handled, and striker Steven Fletcher converted the penalty.
Christie then played in James Forrest for him to score his first Scotland goal before his Celtic team-mate grabbed his double when he converted a Fraser cut-back in style.
He said: “It was a brilliant game to be part of, especially in the second half. The second goal just before half-time was crucial and going into the second half we were really comfortable and that showed.
“James got the goal to put us 3-0 up and we stamped our authority on the game. It is a great team to be part of.”
Livingston striker Dolly Menga was banned for two games after the West Lothian club chose not to appeal against his charge for putting his head towards Christie in a goalless Ladbrokes Premiership clash last Sunday, after it was initially missed by the officials.
However, Russian referee Bezborodov noted Mavraj’s transgression after he had first fouled Forrest and dismissed him down the tunnel.
“That’s two in a week,” said the Celtic player. “I wasn’t sure if it was the captain who made the initial challenge but I was trying to get the ball off him for the free-kick and he seemed to get really aggressive and put the head towards me. I am happy that the officials saw this one.”
It is an exciting time for Christie, who has only recently become a regular in the Celtic side and who signed a new three-year deal with the Scottish champions last week.
He explained: “It has been a bit of a whirlwind. I have found myself very lucky that they have put me into a team full of great players all around me.
“We are playing some great football with Celtic just now and coming away at international level, I really enjoyed playing in that team on Saturday night.
“Callum McGregor was sitting in behind me tonight as I am used to and when you have players like Ryan Fraser and James Forrest running off the ball, it makes my job easy.”