Noel Whelan claims that Celtic have been dealt a “massive blow” after Ryan Christie was ruled out against Rangers.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and Aberdeen striker insists the 25-year-old is the exact sort of player Neil Lennon needs for derby day.
Celtic issued a statement confirming they were “disappointed and frustrated” after the Scottish FA announced Christie would have to self-isolate for 14 days from Tuesday following Stuart Armstrong’s positive Covid-19 test.
Statement from #CelticFC on today’s @ScotlandNT announcement:
Clearly we are disappointed and frustrated to learn of today’s news, however, our over-riding concern is of course the health of the players and staff concerned.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) October 7, 2020
The period of self-isolation means that the 25-year-old is set to miss the first Old Firm of the season.
Whelan insists that “cool heads” will be needed against Rangers and that Christie’s quality and experience will be sorely missed next weekend
Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s huge, when you’re talking about Old Firm clash, you’re talking about rising to the occasion and you don’t really get too many bigger occasions than a Glasgow derby.
“To lose people like that who know what it’s all about, have the experience, the level-headedness – you need cool heads in these kind of games – it’s going to be a massive blow.
“You’ve got players there that people really want to see but I guess that’s the nature of the beast at the minute with this Covid, people are going to get tested, we’re not going to see the best players and managers are going to be tested and use and utilise other players in their squad they wouldn’t normally use.”
Christie has played in five Glasgow derbies to date, with three wins and two defeats under his belt.
He has been a creative spark for the Hoops this season having chipped in with seven assists and three goals in 15 appearances.
In other Celtic news, major Edouard update from broadcaster leaves ex-striker sweating.