Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Christie knows the upcoming 12 months could be a defining period and the on-loan Celtic player knows he needs to reach the peak of his game.
Christie is due to return to Parkhead at the end of the season, by which time he will have spent 18 months with the Dons.
Regular football under Derek McInnes at Pittodrie has helped Christie break into the Scotland squad but with his Celtic contract to expire in summer 2019, the Inverness-born player knows he is coming into a crucial stage of his career.
He said: “It is, you could argue, an important time in my career. I need to really push on.
“I need to realise that and make sure my level stays as high as possible.
“Personally I need to make sure that I try and keep my form as high as I can for Aberdeen, and see where that takes me.
“I have spoken to Brendan Rodgers just briefly a couple of times.
“As far as I know, I just need to report to Celtic for pre-season and we will take it from there.
“Obviously I’m not really thinking that far ahead right now, I’m just focusing on doing as well as I can for Aberdeen in the run-in. I’m excited about that, it should be a very good, exciting finish to the season.
“I’m glad and I know they will be keeping an eye on me week-in, week-out so I need to make sure I’m playing as well as I can.
“Hopefully after the summer when I go back I will have a confidence now after a full season of games, knowing that I can hopefully go in and fit into that Celtic squad.”
Christie made his Scotland debut in a 1-0 friendly loss to Holland in the Granite City in November under interim boss Malky Mackay, but has retained his place in new manager Alex McLeish’s first selection.
With a home game against Costa Rica at Hampden Park tomorrow night followed by another friendly against Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday, former Caley Thistle player Christie hopes to do enough to impress McLeish if given the nod.
The 23-year-old added: “It’s exciting. I was obviously delighted again when I heard I was called up. I’m really excited to get going.
“Everyone is wanting to come here this week and impress the new manager as much as they can and hopefully he takes a liking to us. That’s the plan.
“For the first few days everyone will be on top form trying to catch his eye. Everyone is in the same boat and it’s a nice way to think coming into the camp.”