Ryan Christie insists his head is still very much in Inverness and not the east end of Glasgow – despite his team-mates’ best efforts.
The young Caley Thistle attacker told how he has been the victim of merciless wind-ups since sealing a dream move to Celtic and returning to north on loan.
Ronny Deila, his new permanent manager, has instructed the 20-year-old to soak up all the first-team experience he can before joining up with the champions permanently, either in January or May.
But Christie knew it wasn’t exactly going to be business as usual back at the Caledonian Stadium the moment he returned.
Playing a pivotal part in the victory over Hearts, with a sublime flash of skill to create the opener, was reminder of just how much the Scotland under-21 international brings to his hometown club.
The level-headed youngster is certainly not getting carried away after signing a four-year deal with Celtic, and, even if he was, the rest of the squad would quickly clip his wings.
Christie revealed: “It felt good to come back in here after the international break and get back training with the players.
“They had plenty of fun and gave me a good amount of stick, as you’d expect. The first couple of days it was pretty relentless, although the jokes and laughs have calmed down a bit now.
“I was fully expecting it. There was green and white tape wrapped around my peg and a load of Celtic stuff left in my spot in the dressing-room.
“I’m driving around in a Renault Clio and they were all asking when it was getting traded in for a Porsche – that kind of thing. But it is good in a way that it doesn’t feel like much has changed right now.
“It was a good deal for me because my head was still with Caley Thistle. There are a lot of positives in me staying here on loan, whether to January or through to the end of the season. These next few months give me the chance to build up plenty more starts.”
That first win over Hearts felt like a long time coming, Christie admits, but he is certain the team are ready to kick on now and climb the league.
Standing in their way today is a Dundee United side which has not had its troubles to seek and is trying to break a run of four straight defeats.
Christie said: “We weren’t panicking yet over results but you could feel a little bit of anxiety creeping in. It’s not nice the longer it carries on.
“Up against a decent Hearts side, it was a good time to get the first win in front of the cameras and now it’s important we kick on.
“United have been in the same kind of position as us, struggling to get that bit of form and consistency.”