YOU may imagine that a player who appears to be in direct competition with a teammate to play in the starting 11 would be trepidatious about their rival returning from injury, particularly when said player is of the quality of Tom Rogic.

For Ryan Christie though, he not only sees the added competition that the Australian’s return to full health has provided in his area of the pitch, but he also sees no reason why both of them cannon thrive there together.

If his manager Neil Lennon can indeed find a way to accommodate both of these attacking talents in behind Odsonne Edouard in the Celtic attack, then it will be the opposition who will be feeling trepidation.

“[It’s] positive,” Christie said. “Competition across the squad is always good. I’m delighted to see Tom back because he’s such an incredible players.

“I can’t speak to highly of him – even though he plays in the same position as me!

“He’s been outstanding to watch ever since I have been at Celtic. Hopefully he is over the injuries and he can kick on.

“When I broke in to the side last season a lot of the time it was me and Tom playing together. We were both in there, which I loved.

“There’s no reason why it has to be just one of us, we can both play at the same time. That would be happy days for me.

“I’ve learned during my time at Celtic there’s never any room for complacency. There are so many good players in this squad, especially right now. If you look at the squad list after the window closed, we are strong in every single position.

“It pushes people to be at the top of their game because there’s always someone there waiting to take your place.”

Christie agreed with his manager about the size of the task that awaits Celtic tonight as they take on Stade Rennais in France, but he also shares his manager’s optimism that their recent solid record on the road bodes well for what should be a testing evening against the side currently sitting second in Ligue 1.

“The gaffer’s touched on that, the away record is something we want to improve on, the squad we have definitely has strength in depth and we have plenty of players who have played across Europe,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to it – I can’t wait. We want to kick off the Europa League campaign on a high.

“It’s supposed to be a full house [on Thursday] night. You want to test yourself against the best, you see how well they’ve started in their league so we know how good a side they’re going to be. You want to test yourself and we’re coming here confident we can go back with something.

“I realised when I was watching the draw there were a lot of good European teams in there. That’s a big motivation as well.

“We have a difficult group but if you can progress then you can run in to some top quality teams.

“You never know what can happen.”

Christie’s appreciation of the level of opposition in Group E and his respect for them is clear, but so too is his conviction that Celtic are not in this section to make up the numbers.

He is hugely confident that despite the step up in level from the weekly domestic grind, that Celtic can - and will - make their way to the knockout stages, and that means they will have to win on the road.

“It’s definitely a very good group in terms of the quality of teams in it,” he said.

“Even Cluj – we were gutted to get knocked out by them so early in the season, so every team in the group will be very good.

“It’ll be a difficult fight to progress through it but it’s something we’re confident of doing.

“We see ourselves progressing into the knock-out stages and to do that you need to win games away from home.”