Betfred Cup final hero Ryan Christie admitted he feared his Celtic career might have been nearing its end in the summer.
But the midfielder finds it hard to even remember how he felt during those days after continuing a “crazy” period by netting the only goal against Aberdeen at Hampden.
Christie came close to joining the Dons on a permanent deal in the summer after spending most of the previous 18 months on loan at Pittodrie, and the former Inverness player again found game time hard to come by at the start of the campaign.
He propelled himself into a key role for Celtic = by coming off the bench and scoring a spectacular goal and having a hand in two others in the semi-final victory over Hearts.
The 23-year-old took his recent tally to five goals in eight matches with the cup final winner after signing a new contract and helping Scotland to two crucial Nations League victories last month.
“It’s very special for me and my family and all my friends,” he said. “It’s been an up-and-down season for me and a pretty crazy turn of events in the last few months, but that shows how football can work sometimes. I’m delighted for the whole team, not just me, to get over the line.
“It’s so strange, it’s hard to look back and put myself in the frame of mind that I was at the start of the season.
“I’m obviously delighted with the way things have turned out and long may it continue because I’m loving my football at Celtic right now.
“Even when I signed my contract I said I wanted to make an impact and help the club win silverware and days like this help that.”
When asked whether he had accepted the need to move on during the summer, he said: “I wouldn’t say I had accepted it but I thought that’s where my route was going.
“A lot was made that it might be time for me to go elsewhere but the manager told me he thought I still had a chance and ever since that I have been working to get in the team, and I’m happy when it pays off on days like this.
“It’s amazing. I was delighted when I found out I was starting. It was credit to the manager because I thought maybe he might go back to the players who have done well for him over the past couple of years but to be fair he stuck with the team that’s been in form and thankfully it has paid off.”
Christie’s thoughts were also with former Aberdeen team-mate Gary Mackay-Steven, who was carried off on a stretcher after being knocked unconscious following a clash of heads with Dedryck Boyata.
“It was very scary, it’s horrible when stuff like that happens,” he said. “I’ve heard he is conscious and stable in hospital, that’s all you can ask for at this time.
“But I was gutted for him because he’s such a great guy and a great pal and he deserves to play in cup finals. It’s a shame how it went for him but the important thing is he is healthy.”
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