Ryan Christie admits if it wasn’t for Aberdeen it’s unlikely he would have a part to play for Celtic in the League Cup final.
The attacking midfielder has broken into the Hoops team in recent weeks after helping them reach Sunday’s final by winning a penalty and scoring in the 3-0 victory over Hearts in October.
Since then the 23-year-old has been a regular in Brendan Rodgers’ team and has penned a new contract until 2022.
For a long time it had looked like the former Inverness Caley Thistle player may not make it at Parkhead.
However, 18 months on loan with the Dons rejuvenated his career. Christie spent the second half of the 2016-17 campaign and all of last season at Pittodrie.
He played regularly and developed during his time in the Granite City.
It’s ironic Christie will face the Reds in the League Cup final and he admits were it not for Aberdeen the likelihood is that he wouldn’t be set to play in tomorrow’s showpiece.
Christie said: “You can look at it like that. Being at Aberdeen I was frustrated to miss out on a cup final against Celtic (2017 Scottish Cup final).
“It’s funny the way things work out that I could be playing against them in a cup final.
“I enjoyed my time up there and I’ve got a lot of people at the club to thank for the position I’m in now.
“When I went away to Aberdeen I’ve said that I absolutely loved my time up there.
“I’m very grateful for everything the club, the staff and the manager did for me.
“I think I played my best football there and it gave me a real confidence for going back down to Celtic this season.”
At the start of this term the question remained about Christie’s future at Celtic.
His contract was set to expire at the end of the season and Aberdeen were keen to bring him back to Pittodrie permanently.
But his sterling displays in recent weeks meant he was handed a new deal by the Hoops for another three years.
He also started in Scotland’s crunch Nations League matches against Albania and Israel last month as the national side secured a play-off spot by winning League C Group One in the quest to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.
Christie is able to reflect on the last couple of months and see how far he has come.
“It’s been brilliant, it’s been a fair turnaround recently,” he said.
“I think that is just football nowadays. There are so many games coming thick and fast that things can change pretty quickly.
“I was delighted to come into the international set-up again, delighted to get two starts and two wins.
“I can’t ask for much more than that.”
Christie says Celtic are confident of victory in the final. It would be the seventh domestic trophy in succession for Rodgers since taking charge of the Hoops in summer 2016.
However, unlike Aberdeen the Glasgow side’s attention has not solely been on the cup final this week.
On Thursday they beat Rosenborg 1-0 in Trondheim in a crucial Europa League group stage clash as they look to progress to the last-32.
He said: “We’re confident about it as always. We’ve had a couple of games before it.
“We’ve had big games as well so it’s been hard to look past them.
“When the cup final comes round we will give it our full attention.”