Ryan Christie has been among the first two or three Celtic players on Neil Lennon's teamsheet for a while now. Considering that was not always the case, however, irked the playmaker somewhat and bothered his dad, Charlie for a while, too.

Christie Snr, a former Hoops player himself, knew how much effort Ryan put in every single day in training and in his own spare time. His commitment and desire to be the best shone through. It was clear, to Charlie, that his boy would make it at Parkhead - it was only a matter of when.

It was frustrating, though, for dad Charlie to see some Celtic fans take their time over his lad. Not everyone took to the ex-Inverness and Aberdeen midfielder straight away. But while both Ryan and Charlie were slightly disappointed at the former having to prove himself once again, the latter could see similarities in another Scotland cap who once donned the green and white hoops.

A midfielder, creative and attacking, who came from another Scottish side, took some time to adapt to his surroundings at the country's top club before going on to make it big down south after a brilliant few seasons at Celtic. Another player who had to show supporters what he was made of before they eventually realised what he was all about.

"I think there are huge similarities between Ryan and Stuart Armstrong," Christie Snr told Herald and Times Sport. "In terms of the way they've physically developed, Ryan is a completely different beast from 24 months ago, Stuart is the same. Stuart had to win the fans over and he then went and put in some incredible individual performances.

"There was a period where Stuart was a real goal scoring threat and he got his move down south and he's had to go through it again at Southampton. He's a very positive, likeable and clever individual and he thinks about the game. They are two very similar lads.

"I always thought Ryan was definitely a Celtic calibre player but I felt that, when he was signed, some fans wrote him off straight away which was disappointing. The fact that he comes from Inverness and the Highlands, had he been a continental signing from somewhere in Europe, he would've been held in higher regard immediately.

"In Scotland we don't promote our players and game the way we should, but I felt he had the tools to be a Celtic player. He's got that determined streak in him to say, 'Right, I'll prove all you buggers wrong'. It was his mindset because he knew himself he had the capabilities to kick on.

"I think he's turned - not all of them, yet, which bugs me - but the vast majority of Celtic fans, he's changed their opinions. They know he can do it, now they turn round and, if you pick a Celtic team from last season onward, Ryan, Callum McGregor and Odsonne Edouard would be there every day of the week. They are three, if they're fit, who are definitely starting."

The transformation in Christie has been incredible since his return from his Aberdeen loan spell. Of course, the majority of Celtic fans point to his coming-out party at Murrayfield when he scored against Hearts and played a part in the other two goals as his side cantered to a 3-0 win back in 2018. But it is his performances in Europe that his dad has been most proud of.

"I thought in the Lazio game, Rennes and even Cluj games Ryan had really good games and I thought he really stamped his authority on Europe last season," Charlie added. "It was great because we know Celtic have several comfortable games at Parkhead in the Premiership. European nights are different, you're playing against a higher quality player and tactically teams are set up differently.

"For Ryan to stand out and score six or seven goals was a real step forward and great to watch."

An outstanding season for the club added to Christie's impressive individual campaign where the 25-year-old notched 20 goals in all competitions from 49 appearances.

And, had the season not concluded early, Charlie is convinced his son would be a shoe-in for this year's player of the year award. He'd only have to get past teammate Odsonne Edouard. "I think it's between Ryan and Odsonne," Charlie went on. "I think Edouard has been tremendous, he's top scorer and at he has the potential to be top, top notch at any level. He's a big asset Celtic have on their hands so it's all credit to their recruitment team for splashing out.

"But Ryan should certainly be in the reckoning. When gongs are handed out I always feel people focus on the second half of the season. That stopped mid-March and Ryan missed four weeks in January with injury, but had the season stopped after six months, I think there would be a strong case for Ryan being player of the year.

"Callum [McGregor] is another who is one of my favourite players and he's another good example of someone fans might not have been convinced by, he's gone on loan to Notts County and he's now absolutely different class. He's my sort of player. But the fact that Ryan is being mentioned with these players is testament to the hard work he's put in."