JOHN HUGHES believes that securing Ryan Christie to a long-term contract would be the best bit of business Celtic do this summer should the attacker put pen to paper on a new deal at the club.

Christie is believed to be in talks with Celtic about extending his current contract - which expires in the summer of 2022 – for a further year, and Hughes reckons it should be a priority for his former club to tie the 25-year-old down on lengthier terms.

While he doesn’t believe Christie would be interested in leaving his boyhood team, Hughes thinks that his sparkling form will have caught the eye of big clubs from England and further afield.

He hopes though that he plays out the best years of his career at Celtic Park, firmly believing there is even more to come from the Scotland international.

“It’s no surprise to me that Celtic are trying to extend his contract,” Hughes said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he is catching the eye of one or two clubs down south.

“Even when we were at Inverness, Bournemouth were trying to buy him, and Eddie Howe was a big admirer. So, I think getting him tied down should be a priority for Celtic.

“He’s magnificent. He’s bursting with confidence and belief right now, and he’s a regular in the national team.

“He’s infectious. As a manager and a coach, he’s an absolute dream.

“He wants to give it everything that he can, and I really do think there is more to come. I don’t even think this is him near his peak.”

Hughes, who coached Christie at Inverness, is glad that his predictions of success for Christie at Celtic are now coming to fruition after the player overcame a battle to establish himself with the champions.

“I said when he first signed for Celtic that the fans would love the kid, because he’s a Celtic player,” he said.

“He’s got that wee half turn, the wee shimmy, the goals. He’s a great footballer, and I knew they would love him.

“As soon as you mentioned Celtic, you saw his face lighting up. He’s a Celtic boy. That was the team for him.

“He has had to work hard, but he is now showing just how valuable a player he is.

“I’m just delighted that the Celtic fans are starting to see now everything I said about him back when he signed, and they now know just how good a player he is.

“He was brilliant for me and he really deserved the move. He was absolutely outstanding for me.

“He’s a manager’s dream. You should see him training. When the ball comes out his face lights up like a kid, he just loves it.

“It made my job easy, and it’s no surprise to me that Celtic are trying to tie him down.”