Ryan Christie is worth more than £500,000, says John Hughes

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at Dens Park
Ryan Christie played the full 90 minutes of the draw against Dundee
Ryan Christie played the full 90 minutes of the draw against Dundee

Inverness manager John Hughes says Ryan Christie is worth more than the £500,000 being offered by Celtic.

The Scottish champions are willing to loan the 20-year-old back to Inverness as part of the deal, but Hughes thinks other clubs could come in for him.

"The boys in England know when there is a real talent coming through up in Scotland," Hughes told BBC Scotland.

Asked if Celtic's offer was too low, he said: "When you see some of the stuff going on down south, definitely."

Hughes added that Christie will only leave if the move is right for Inverness.

Midfielder Christie played in Saturday's 1-1 Premiership draw with Dundee at Dens Park, where Kane Hemmings' late strike cancelled out David Raven's opener on 60 minutes and denied the Highlanders their first league win of the campaign.

Hughes added: "Ryan is a Celtic supporter, that's his club. His dad played for the club and I think that is where his heart lies.

"If Glasgow Celtic or Rangers come calling you don't turn the Old Firm down, but everybody is forgetting it has to be right for Inverness."

John Hughes
John Hughes was denied his first league win of the season by Kane Hemmings' goal in injury time

Prior to kick-off in Dundee, Hughes said "there has certainly been a bid put in from Celtic" and admitted that a number of other clubs had shown an interest.

"We have had plenty of enquiries but never had a solid offer," he said.

"Bournemouth last year were heavy into him.

"It's all speculation but I do want the best for Ryan Christie.

"One thing I will say about Ryan is he is a real talent and he is going to be a wonderful footballer.

"He is a big player for us, but the most important thing for Ryan is that he needs to be playing and we at Inverness like to play football."

Caley Thistle's injury troubles deepened this week with the news that winger Aaron Doran is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

He joins Dean Brill, Richie Foran, Josh Meekings, Greg Tansey, James Vincent and Gary Warren as long-term absentees.

Hughes does not want to contemplate the loss of Christie as well but had said earlier this week that a return on loan would be the ideal scenario if Caley Thistle received a cash offer they could not refuse.

Dundee manager Paul Hartley
Dundee manager Paul Hartley does not look overjoyed at his team picking up a late point

Christie, whose contract runs until May 2016 with an option for the club to extend for a further year, has already played for Scotland Under-21s and his manager has tipped him to win senior caps in the future.

The Inverness-born player, the son of former Caley Thistle manager and player Charlie Christie, was awarded Scottish Football Writers' Association Young Player of the Year after helping the club win the Scottish Cup for the first time and finish third in the Premiership last season.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila confirmed the Glasgow side were still in talks with Caley Thistle on Saturday.

"We'll see what's happening, we are negotiating with them and seeing if we can make a deal," he said.

"What I can say is he's a very good player, with a big future in front of him and we want to get him to Celtic."

On the draw with Dundee, Hughes said his opponents "deserved something from the match" and admitted his team had been fortunate when Owain Fon Williams saved Greg Stewart's penalty after Danny Devine had handled.

Dens boss Paul Hartley thought his team had made enough chances to win in the second half and said he hoped to add a few players before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.

"All credit to our lads," he said. "We hung in there for a decent point.

"Greg missed the penalty but he's won us games before so that's the way it goes sometimes.

"We kept going right to the end, which is the most pleasing thing from our point of view.

"We will be trying our best to strengthen the squad and try and to bring in one or two. We are hopeful we can strengthen the team."