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  • Christie: I love playing game after game during busy schedule

    Christie: I love playing game after game during busy schedule

    By: Joe Donnelly on 29 Nov, 2018 09:01

  • AFTER replacing the injured Olivier Ntcham at half-time in the Celtic's 3-0 League Cup semi-final win over Hearts at Murrayfield, Ryan Christie hasn’t looked back. Five weeks on, he’s cemented his place in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI, and is savouring the busy schedule ahead.

    With 10 games between now and the new year – beginning with tonight’s UEFA Europa League group-stage tie against Rosenborg in Norway – the 23-year-old midfielder said he thrives under pressure, and is confident the Scottish champions’ strength in depth can handle the incoming fixture load.

    “Big games make the season pretty hectic and we have a busy schedule coming up,” Christie said. “I love playing game after game. That’s better for me, and you get the chance to play against some really good opposition and learn even more.

    “The victory against Leipzig at home was a special night, and it’s brilliant to have the opportunity to play in games like these. After that game we gave ourselves a fighting chance to get out of the group. 

    “A lot is being said across football now in terms of there not being enough recovery, but I think that’s the way football is right now. We’re used to it, especially at a club like Celtic where it’s rare that we get a full week’s recovery between games.

    “We’re prepared for that, and the squad we’ve now got has a great strength in depth as well. When it comes to these games, we’ve got more than enough in the full squad to hopefully get the results.”

    Christie is targeting back-to-back wins in Trondheim tonight and against Aberdeen in the League Cup final at Hampden on Sunday, and is keen to continue improving his own game. Having spent last season on loan with the Dons, he’s since seized his opportunity at Celtic, and hopes to retain his place in the starting XI long into the future. He also attributes his recent run of form to both Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

    “I still had that confidence in myself and that belief that I had the ability to make an impact at Celtic," Christie said. "I obviously found it frustrating earlier in the season, and it was hard to get that chance, but once I got that chance, for me it was all about taking it. Now I’m happy that I’m scoring goals and helping create goals, and that’s my job as an attacking midfielder.

    “Both managers have been brilliant for me. Brendan Rodgers has given me that long-term plan and the mindset that I need to keep my head down and keep working hard. Even when I was going out on loan to Aberdeen, he still made sure that he had a plan for me and this was for me to benefit from and to come back to play for Celtic.

    “I didn’t feel like I was being shoved out the door, and it felt like it was right for my development at the time. I think that’s paying off now with me coming back and playing well.”

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