Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie today refused to rule out returning to Aberdeen next season.
The 22-year-old called time on a successful loan spell by netting a brace in the 6-0 demolition of Partick Thistle.
Christie will miss the Scottish Cup final on Saturday as he cannot play against his parent club due to the details of his loan deal.
The 1,200-strong Dons fans chanted “sign him up” when Christie netted his second goal of his swansong at Firhill.
They could get their wish as Christie revealed he is open to a potential Pittodrie return.
Asked if he could come back to Aberdeen next season, Christie said: “I am not going to rule it out, that’s for sure because I have enjoyed my time at Aberdeen so much.
“If that is what it comes to, then it is definitely an option I will keep open.
“Right now in my head it is all about doing as well as I can in pre-season then we will take it from there.”
Christie still has two years left on his Celtic contract having signed until 2019 in a £500,000 move from Inverness in September 2015.
Ultimately any loan move would have to be sanctioned by Parkhead gaffer Brendan Rodgers.
Christie will return to Celtic for pre-season to fight for his place, but he made just seven appearances in the first half of the season before moving to Pittodrie.
PFA Scotland Player of the Year Scott Sinclair and Scotland international James Forrest are ahead of him in the Parkhead pecking order and Rodgers will strengthen further, bolstered by a £26 million Champions League windfall.
Aberdeen have offered regular first team action for Christie, a factor that may be missing at Celtic.
He said: “I will go back to Celtic a better player, and my time spent at Aberdeen will definitely stand me in good stead.
“I will go and enjoy my holidays and come back raring to go at Celtic then see what happens after that.”
Within hours of the playmaker’s loan to Pittodrie in January being confirmed the move threatened to be soured when an offensive tweet slating Aberdeen that Christie sent as a 17-year-old resurfaced online.
Christie apologised for the tweet and asked for Dons fans to look past that mistake.
It was mission accomplished long before he received a rousing ovation from the Red Army at full-time at Firhill.
His strong relationship with the Aberdeen support, as well as the manager and team, is a major factor why Christie will not rule out returning to the Granite City next season.
On the tweet storm, he said: “That is one of the ways the fans have been great with me because that was forgotten about it pretty sharpish.
“The reception they gave me at Partick at full-time when I was walking off was incredible and a very nice touch.
“It made me sign off from Aberdeen in a really happy place. I have loved every minute of my time at Aberdeen and a lot of that has come from the way the fans have been with me, they have been absolutely tremendous.
“The positivity I have felt around the club has been incredible and I have gone into training every day with a smile on my face because I have enjoyed it that much.
“That is going to stay with me for a while.
“Since I have come into the club it has been a real joy.
“The fans, manager and the players have been incredible to me.
“I really enjoyed playing in this squad as it is one full of talent”
While the Dons squad prepare for the bid to win a first Scottish Cup since 1990, Christie’s season is over.
He will miss the final as he is ineligible to face his parent club Celtic.
Christie will not even be at Hampden to watch the two teams he has played for this season go head to head.
“It is strange not to be involved in the final but I am over that now,” he explained.
“After the hype of getting through the semi-final, straight away you want to look forward to the final and everyone is excited for it.
“It took me almost a week to get over that I wouldn’t be playing.
“I was always aware that if we had Celtic in the semi-final or we got to the final against them then I wouldn’t be able to play.
“I agreed it at the time, but when it comes around you realise how frustrating it is.
“But it’s just one of those things. There’s nothing you can do about it.
“I will watch the final at home with family and friends.
“Everyone has asked me how the game will go and I don’t know what to say.
“All I know is that it will be a brilliant game of football between two strong teams.”
Christie finished his loan spell with a brace at Firhill to take his goal tally to eight for Aberdeen.
Such was the extent of his impact at Pittodrie the midfielder secured the club’s Young Player of the Year award.
“It was a great team performance at Partick and a great way to sign off at Aberdeen,” he said.”I have taken a lot from my time at Aberdeen.
“When I first came I thought something what I needed to add to my game was goals.
“And I am happy to have done that to an extent.
“I have really enjoyed working with Derek and all the coaching staff and I have nothing but positives to say about my time playing at Aberdeen.”