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Ex-Celtic star Ryan Christie dismisses Neil Lennon’s wantaway transfer claims

SCOTLAND star Ryan Christie has dispelled Neil Lennon’s claims that several Celtic players wanted to leave at the beginning of last season.

The attacking midfielder was part of the Hoops squad that endured a torrid time as their ten-in-a-row dream soon turned into a nightmare, as they suffered a full campaign without a trophy and saw Rangers lift the title.

Lennon was ultimately sacked before the season was up, as his team slipped further and further behind Steven Gerrard’s side at the time.

The Northern Irishman was clearly unhappy with some of his first team stars early in that campaign, as he claimed that any of them who wanted to leave were free to do so.

His comments in August 2020 read: “Some of you don’t want to be here? Leave. I just want the players who want to be here.”

Christie stayed for the season, before eventually sealing a move to Bournemouth last summer after undergoing pre-season with Ange Postecoglou.

He wasn’t the only major player to head for the exit door, as Kristoffer Ajer joined Brentford and Odsonne Edouard was bought by Crystal Palace.

Christie says it was tough to hear Lennon’s claims in the previous season though, as no players had opened up on leaving.

He told Football Scotland: “It was tough because, number one, I don’t think anyone had stated they were absolutely desperate to leave at that point.

“A few people had maybe had offers in like Premier League or elsewhere that was promising for them.

“It was so early in the season where it’s a bit different for Celtic when you have such important games at the start of the season that it means you have to be focused straight away.

“That’s when the transfer market takes over a little bit at the start of the season.

“Did it have to be said? I’m not so sure. I think everyone was desperate to get a result.

“Everyone in our squad was firing on all cylinders to try and get through.

“Had we got into the Champions League that season I’m sure that would have steadied some players’ heads about leaving because that’s an attraction itself.

“People probably look back at those comments now and think, ‘That’s where it started going wrong so early’ but we took it as a minor blip.

“It was frustrating but it was still early and in our minds we were still thinking we’ll go on to have a successful season.”

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