Ryan Christie insists he never lost hope of making it as a Celtic player.
The former Aberdeen and Caley Thistle midfielder had seen his future cast into doubt early in the campaign as he struggled for games, however a sparkling run of form, including a Betfred Cup semi-final goal and two Scotland starts, have seen his prospects revitalised.
Christie was impressive in the two games against Albania and Israel for the national side, following the signing of a new three-year deal at Parkhead.
The Dons had been interested in bringing him back in the summer after 18 months on loan at Pittodrie but even while he was away from his parent club, Christie kept faith that his time would come.
He said: “I wouldn’t say I knew that I had a future at the club, but for me it was just about keeping my head down and working hard. Even when I went on loan to Aberdeen, the manager was very good to me, and told me what he felt I needed to do to fit into his Celtic team. So when I was at Aberdeen I had that in my mindset.
“Even at the start of this season, when I was struggling to push my way in, I remained confident that my chance would come. Hopefully, now that I’ve signed a new contract, I can really kick in for Celtic.
“Obviously I got the opportunity at Murrayfield and scoring a goal kind of ignited my confidence a little bit. It gave me that feeling that I’ve got a purpose and that I can make an impact at Celtic. Confidence for all footballers is a huge thing and I’m feeling good about my game right now. I hope that it can continue.
“It has been a crazy month for me. But that is how football works these days – there are so many games that thing can change so quickly. We’ve got a hefty schedule coming up so hopefully the games come thick and fast for me because I’m feeling good about myself.”
Christie was quick to praise the performance of his club-mate James Forrest, who bagged five goals in four days to inspire Scotland to Uefa Nations League success.
He added: “He is huge. You can’t rely on it, but it is nice to have someone like that in your team, who can pop up on a night like Tuesday and score three goals. He makes my job easier, that’s for sure – you just keep giving him the ball and let him do his thing. Long may it continue, because right now he is on fire.
“People have sometimes said that all it takes is your first one and then you get a bit of a run and that is now five in two for James for Scotland. He is flying and long may it continue.
“It’s good because every time I have been in a squad it has been like the same nucleus of players, but the team that played on Tuesday – like Jamesy and Ryan Fraser – they were superb.
“With guys like Andy Robertson and Callum McGregor, we have that core of players that are key performers both for their club and country, which is good.”