Ryan Christie won his first cup winner’s medal at the age of 20.
If Celtic win on Sunday he’ll have two under his belt at the age of 23 – some achievement for a confident Inverness lad.
Christie’s first full season as a professional yielded the greatest moment in Caley Thistle’s history when a 2-1 win over Falkirk gave them the Scottish Cup.
Since then, Christie has missed out on two opportunities to add to his medals haul.
He was left out of Celtic’s win over Aberdeen in the 2016-17 League Cup final and was ineligible for the 2017 Scottish Cup final as he was on the opposite side on loan at Aberdeen.
His father, Charlie, who also made the move to Celtic from Inverness, has watched his son’s development closely and would be as proud as anyone to see him secure a second winner’s medal this weekend.
Charlie said: “Ryan scored against Hibs in the semi-final in 2017 and couldn’t be involved in the final. It would be nice for him to be involved in the final.
“He won the Scottish Cup at a young age with Caley Thistle and he’s done a lot for a lad from the Highlands.
“It’s very difficult for players from up here to get to the top and stay there, as there have not been many that have done it in my lifetime.
“Ryan was frustrated not to play in the final last year but he understood Celtic are the club he signed for and who pay his wages.
“But what I liked was the character and attitude he showed in the semi-final and Derek McInnes said afterwards how he wanted to do the utmost for the team.
“To have two winner’s medals under his belt in his first four years as a professional would be a fantastic achievement.”
This season had an element of make-or-break to it for Ryan, given it was the last year of his contract at Celtic.
However, his starring role as a substitute in the semi-final win over Hearts, scoring once and setting up two, has propelled him back into Brendan Rodgers’ plans, earning him a new three-year contract and also two Scotland starts in which he has shone.
The improvement in the 23-year-old’s physique has been well-noted of late, which could well prove to be the missing ingredient in his game.
Charlie said: “With his ability, game awareness and attitude to the game, I always thought he was a Celtic player.
“He’s added strength and pace to his game; he’s never been lightning quick but that added pace has come with confidence. Credit to Aberdeen, Derek McInnes and his staff.
“Celtic oversaw it and Ryan got regular instructions from the sports science team, but Aberdeen gave him the facilities and desire to keep that going.
“Every time he comes home he seems to be that bigger and it’s all muscle, which is not easier to do.
“He’s been working hard in training and I’ve seen comments from Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown all talking him up. I’m just pleased he’s getting a chance now.
“He loves the club, the manager and the staff and has had an affinity with Celtic since he was young.
“The bottom line is he wants to play and feels he’s good enough to play at that level. He feels he could be a good player for them for the next two, three or four seasons.”