ABERDEEN boss Derek McInnes is hopeful Ryan Christie will make his Pittodrie loan move permanent.
The Celtic midfielder is enjoying his second successive temporary deal with the Dons and is now a key man in the first team squad.
The Scotland Under-21 star will enter the final 12 months of his Parkhead contract after being signed for £500,000 from Inverness Caley Thistle by ex-boss Ronny Deila in September 2015 on a four-year deal.
McInnes attempted to sign Christie on a permanent contract last summer when Jonny Hayes moved to Parkhead in a £1.2million switch, but Brendan Rodgers decided to hold onto the Highlander.
However, the Dons boss will try to sign him for good in the summer if the Irishman has a change of mind.
McInnes said: “The plan is for Ryan to go back to Celtic at the end of the season.
“But if we are told any different to that then, of course, I would like the opportunity to work with him again.
“It is Celtic and Ryan’s call. However, he has been a brilliant addition to us in his loan spells.”
McInnes saw his team lose the 10th successive game against the champions at the weekend and added: “I am fine with the criticism.
“We are being criticised for not beating Celtic which has been the case over the past couple of seasons.
“So be it. We don’t really have a lot to defend ourselves with because of the results.
“Until we win a game, it will be difficult to argue against that, but we take confidence because we gave ourselves a chance to get a result and we had some good performers although we missed Shinnie and Christie.
“I thought the team performed very well, put everything into it and never quite got the result and the criticism has come.”