Ryan Christie looking forward to reunions during Celtic’s date with Dons

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie will see plenty of familiar faces during Sunday’s Betfred Cup final against Aberdeen.

The 23-year-old had two loan spells at Pittodrie after signing for the Hoops from Inverness in 2015 but he has established himself in Brendan Rodgers’ side this season, as well as forcing his way into Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad.

After Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League win over Rosenborg in Trondheim, which means one point in the final  Group B fixture against already-qualified Salzburg guarantees a place in the last-32, Christie anticipates a “strange” afternoon against his former team-mates as Celtic look to defend their trophy.

“It is a big week,” said Christie, who was on the bench for September’s 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership home win over Aberdeen.

“We wanted to get a win in the first game and we did that. Now it is the big one on Sunday.

“It will be a strange one coming up against Aberdeen if I do play.

“But everyone at the club wants to win trophies obviously and if we get one so early in the season we will be delighted with that.”

Christie paid tribute to Dons boss Derek McInnes and his staff for helping him in his Celtic career.

“It was a huge for my development and my career,” said Christie, who won the William Hill Scottish Cup with Inverness.

“When I went to Aberdeen it was the first time that I had a full season of playing and that really set me up for coming back to Celtic and having a stronger mindset and it made me stronger physically as well. I came back in better shape so I have to give a lot of credit to Aberdeen.

“I can’t really say thank you enough to all the staff up there because I loved my time up there and as I said, it is funny how things work out and hopefully I will be playing them on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Celtic defender Filip Benkovic wants to get on the trophy trail with the Hoops on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Croatian joined the Parkhead club on a season-long loan deal in the summer after leaving Dinamo Zagreb to sign a five-year contract with Leicester.

He said: “It is a big game at the weekend and we can’t wait for it because we know it is very important.

“I already have two championships and one cup medal. Nobody will be prouder than me to get trophies with this big club.

“It can be only a proud moment and I will give everything that I have to achieve this.

“We will give all we have and go for a win but the only way to achieve that is to play like a team.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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