Celtic legend Davie Hay has pinpointed Ryan Christie as a player that could come back to Celtic from his loan at Aberdeen and make a massive impact at Parkhead next season.
The versatile 22-year-old has impressed on loan at Pittodrie ever since his first move there in January, but is yet to make the same impact at his parent club.
Christie was signed from Inverness in 2015, but has only made 13 appearances in all competitions for the Hoops, spending most of his time so far at the club on loan.
Former Celtic midfielder Hay has highlighted Christie’s contribution for Aberdeen this season ahead of the two teams’ meeting on Saturday, and hopes he can return to Parkhead and do the same next season.
Speaking to the Evening Times, Hay said: “Aberdeen played exceptionally well against Hibs, but I think that ironically, the fact they will be missing a Celtic player from their line-up in Ryan Christie will really hurt them. Christie has done exceptionally well for the Dons this season, and I think he will be a huge miss for them this afternoon.
“I’m sure that Derek McInnes may say otherwise, but I think that he has been integral to a lot of Aberdeen’s good performances this season, and he will be so hard for them to replace with the role he carries out for the side.
“I really believe that he is a player who could come back to Celtic Park in the summer and make a real impact on Brendan Rodgers’s first-team plans. Put it this way, he isn’t doing himself any harm by the way he is performing at Aberdeen. The loan move was the right thing to do at the time for the boy in particular and for Celtic, and Aberdeen are getting the benefit of that.”
Christie has scored five goals and provided seven assists in 23 appearances in all competitions this season for the Dons, but will be forced to sit out against his parent club on Saturday.
The 22-year-old has been deployed mostly on the left-wing but can also play on the right or through the middle.
Celtic go into the clash on Saturday having recovered from their shock 4-0 loss to Hearts with a 2-0 win over Partick Thistle in midweek, and sit five points ahead of the second-placed Dons.