By Alan Hutton

14th Oct, 2020 | 1:12pm

'Massive' - Exclusive: Pundit reacts as 'Fantastic' player ruled out of Celtic v Rangers

Alan Hutton has claimed losing Ryan Christie will be a “massive worry” for Celtic ahead of Saturday’s clash with Rangers. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge,the former Gers and Scotland defender insists the attacking midfielder will be sorely missed after he was ruled out of derby day.

The Scottish FA confirmed last week that the 25-year-old had entered a two-week period of self-isolation after international teammate Stuart Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19.

The news means that Christie will be unavailable for selection for the Hoops’ crunch clash against Rangers at Parkhead.

Hutton admits that, even as a boyhood Gers fan, he does not want to see Celtic’s top stars ruled out but claims it is a great opportunity for someone to step up to the plate.

Hutton told Football Insider: “You don’t want to see anybody out and not well, it’s a catch-22 a little bit. He’s a fantastic player, I think he brings so much to the Celtic team going forward, he’s that creative spark and he scores goals. 

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“For Neil Lennon it’s a massive worry, he’s got a few players now with the Covid-19 stuff, it’s not been ideal. Probably out of everybody it’s affecting Celtic more than Rangers with the situation at the moment. 

“They’ve got a strong squad, it’s an opportunity for players to prove their worth on the big stage. They’ll have to step up, be counted and really do their best.”

Christie has been one of the Bhoys’ top performers this season with three goals and sevens assists in 13 appearances.

Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton are also out of Saturday’s clash, while Odsonne Edouard will return from his own period of self-isolation later this week.

In other Celtic news, Parkhead exodus tipped after big transfer reveal from the Athletic.