By Alex McLeish

19th Nov, 2020 | 4:00pm

Forget Edouard, McLeish wowed by Celtic player transformed into global heavyweight

Alex McLeish has admitted he would be “extremely surprised” if Premier League and elite global clubs did not try to sign Celtic heavyweight Ryan Christie in January.

The former Rangers and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has lauded the 25-year-old for his exploits for both club and country in recent years.

The Hoops star caught the eye on the international stage as his goal helped Scotland – via a penalty shoot-out win over Israel – secure qualification to next summer’s European Championship last week.

Christie has also been a standout performer for Celtic, with three Premiership titles, two Scottish League Cups and a Scottish Cup win under his belt since joining from Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

He has carried his fine form into the current campaign having scored four goals and contributed eight assists in 18 appearances so far.

McLeish has heralded his fellow countryman’s performances and has suggested there will be clubs from all across the globe keeping an eye on a potential transfer raid.

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Asked if he thought Premier League clubs would be sniffing around the Celtic star, McLeish told Football Insider: If nobody’s looking at him, I’ll be extremely surprised.

“He’s been non-stop quality for over a season, a year and a bit now no and I know they’ve had good players in that Celtic team over a period of time – Brown’s been a good leader, McGregor, Edouard, Leigh Griffiths has come up with important goals.

“Christie has certainly caught the eye big time, I would say, all over Europe now, if not the world, when you know that the broadcast organisers flash those pictures everywhere.

Ryan Christie is certainly a player and I told you about his exploits in my last couple of games down in Mexico and Peru and he was a wee bit lightweight – he went back and apparently did the gym work what he is now.

“That doesn’t make him a great footballer of course, he’s already a great footballer but it just made him much more confident and sure of himself. You see his strength and running powers, he’s very slim, athletic and he’s been one of the great finds for this squad.”

In other Celtic news, McLeish has urged the Hoops to make a massive statement by signing “Fabulous” 23-year-old.