'Fantastic' - Exclusive: McNamara blown away by Celtic player who looked 'a lot fitter' v Cluj
Jackie McNamara has admitted was blown away by the energetic performance of Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie’s against Cluj in their Europa League group tie.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Celtic and Scotland star says that the 24-year-old’s stamina was exceptional during the 2-0 victory and that he was among the standout performers for the Hoops on Thursday night.
The Scottish international started the clash as part of a four-man attack at Parkhead and was only replaced by Olivier Ntcham in the dying minutes of the tie.
McNamara says he was astounded by the way the Christie ran around for the 90 minutes before his substitution and says that the whole Celtic team look a lot better than when they took on Cluj in their Champions League qualifier.
McNamara told Football Insider: “I thought his energy was fantastic last night.
“Up until when they took him off, he was chasing, with his bursts of pace. I was really impressed with Ryan.
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“I think Celtic are a lot stronger now than they were then (in the Champions League qualifiers) and they showed that last night. The squad’s stronger, they’re a lot fitter and a lot more cohesion than when the boys last played them.”
Christie, who was in and out of the side last season as a result of injury problems, has firmly established himself as one of Neil Lennon’s mainstays in the starting XI this campaign, having played in all but one of the club’s 19 games across all competitions.
He has been a regular threat in front of goal with 11 strikes already to his name, as well as contributing to another five with an assist.