Derek McInnes reckons Ryan Christie’s improved performances have been worth waiting for.
The former Aberdeen loanee has benefitted from the sale of Moussa Dembele and injury to Scotland colleague Leigh Griffiths, earning a run in the Celtic side and a recall to the national side.
He has been rewarded with a bumper new contract with the league champions, dashing any hopes Aberdeen had of re-signing the ex-Caley Thistle youngster, but McInnes believes Christie is starting to get the rewards for the work he has put in.
He said: “I think like any youngster it is about making the most of your opportunity. I think Ryan has now had his first run of playing at Celtic. He has managed to deal with that and done very well. He has been part of a resurgent run of Celtic results over the last month or so and he has played a big part within that.
“He was a big player for me at Aberdeen. When he was here on loan for 18 months the intention was to try and be good enough and to be ready to go back and compete and play more regularly for Celtic.
“He has had to wait but some things are worth waiting for. For what I have seen he has been very influential and has been scoring goals. He is now doing for Celtic what he was doing for us. Good on him because he is such a brilliant boy. He works extremely hard and it is good to see his patience and determination has been rewarded at the minute.”
Christie missed out on two cup finals during his time with the Dons, due to them coming up against his parent club, but will get the chance to put that right on December 2 when the two sides meet at Hampden Park in the Betfred Cup final.
McInnes added: “He actually towards the end of his time with us looked a bit tired. His season just petered out. He played more games for us than he had in previous seasons but if you look at his levels of consistency, creativity and his goals return they were all there for everybody to see. You don’t always see player’s development fully until you see them elsewhere, back in their own environment again. Ryan felt at home here. He never felt like a loan player, he felt like one of my players.
“That says a lot about him and how he threw himself into things. He was always willing to listen and to learn, whether that was with our video analyst team, with myself and the rest of the coaching staff or even the strength coach he was always pushing to get those small percentages better. When you have that so young it never leaves you. That characteristic will serve him well in his career at Celtic.”