Caley Thistle manager John Hughes hopes midfielder Ryan Christie has not played his last game for the club after the on-loan Celtic midfielder returned to Parkhead for treatment on his knee injury.
Christie has been injured since landing awkwardly on his knee in Inverness’ 3-1 victory against Motherwell this month and is set to be sidelined for the next four to six weeks.
Celtic signed Christie from Caley Jags for £500,000 in September and immediately loaned the 20-year-old back to Inverness for the season.
The Hoops have the option to recall the youngster in January, however, and although Hughes expects the Glasgow outfit to trigger that, he is hopeful Christie will regain his fitness in time to enjoy a send-off from his hometown club before the turn of the year.
Hughes said: “We’ve let him get specialist treatment on his knee and to get to know Celtic’s team. We’re crossing our fingers we get him back for a couple of games before the window, but he’s in a good place.
“It will let him to get to know the players but I’m hoping we’ve not seen the last of him, but that’s Celtic’s decision. We might get him back before the deadline and before he goes to Celtic.
“It looks like he’ll leave in January but I’m hoping we can get him back for a few games before that. We want Ryan to give the supporters a send-off because they’ve been fantastic with him since his move to Celtic.”
Hughes is already planning for life without Christie in the long-term and has taken Crawley Town midfielder Conor Henderson on trial after the English League 2 outfit told him he is free to leave in January.
The Caley Jags manager has been impressed by the 24-year-old, who began his career with Arsenal before a spell with Hull City, and Hughes added: “He was a player I was chasing at the start of the season but I kept my eye on him and noticed he wasn’t getting a game at Crawley.
“He’s come here and he’s getting better every day. He’s fantastic on the ball and sees passes. He looks fit and looks the part on the training pitch.
“He’s settling in with the players. He’s getting the chance to see us, and what he’d be coming to, and we’re getting the chance to see him, though we need to see him playing in a game.
“He can play in a number of positions. He’s got a wand of a left foot and sees a pass. He’s done nothing to put us off since he’s been here.”