Inverness CT: John Hughes issues Ryan Christie challenge

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland
Ryan Christie playing for Inverness Caledonian Thistle against Partick Thistle
Christie has made over 60 appearances for Inverness
Scottish Premiership: Inverness CT v Hearts
Date: Friday, 11 September Venue: Caledonian Stadium, Inverness Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 92-95FM and online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes has challenged midfielder Ryan Christie to show why Celtic signed him during the transfer window.

Under the terms of the deal, Christie, 20, was loaned back to Inverness until January at least.

"Now it's died down and he's now a Celtic player, we're absolutely delighted that we've got him back on loan," Hughes told BBC Scotland.

"He has to let his football do the talking."

The Highlanders, still looking for their first win of the season, host Hearts on Friday evening.

"It's all about his mindset," Hughes said. "Celtic are coming here to watch him [against Hearts] and they'll keep their eye on him from now until the window.

"I just said to him go and show why Celtic have signed you and if he does that and gets that free spirit, he could be a big, big player for us.

"He cannot protect himself. He has to give it everything that he's got for Inverness."

Ryan Christie after joining Celtic on a four-year deal
Christie signed a four-year deal with Celtic before rejoining Inverness on loan

Hughes believes his side, who trail Hearts by 12 points, are a bigger target for opponents given the success they enjoyed last season, which culminated with their maiden Scottish Cup win.

"We are a scalp," he explained. "We don't fly under the radar anymore for the season that we had last year.

"We've just been grinding away on the mind-set, on that underdog mentality, on that spirit. We're not too far away."

Loan singings Miles Storey and Tobi Sho-Silva will make the squad and the forwards are in contention to start against Hearts, with Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo suspended following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Dundee.

James Vincent, Josh Meekings and Richie Foran are back from injury although may have to settle for places on the bench. Hughes hopes increased competition for places may revitalise his squad.

"I'm seeing one or two huffy boys on the training pitch as they're maybe sniffing that they might not be in the starting eleven," he added.

"I want that. I want them to be huffy, I want them to be angry. I want them to prove to me, 'that'll be right, I'll train like a world champion. I'm getting in your first team and I'm not coming back out'.

"We need to get back to the underdog mentality that we had last year. We're more than capable of beating Hearts here."

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