CELTIC playmaker Ryan Christie admitted making his Scotland debut against Holland was a dream come true.

The 23-year-old midfielder, who has been on loan at Aberdeen for the past 18 months, played the entire 90 minutes in the 1-0 loss against Virgil van Dijk and Co at Pittodrie in November.

As Christie prepares for a crucial campaign at Parkhead, he reflected on his international breakthrough.

He said: “I was delighted to get on at Pittodrie against the Dutch. It was amazing to play in that game and it’s been the highlight of my career so far.

“I’ve had a taste of international football and, of course, once you have it you only want more.”

Christie was included in Alex McLeish’s travelling squad for the friendlies against Peru and Mexico along with Hoops team-mates Scott Bain and Jack Hendry, both signed from Dundee during the year.

The six-hour time difference means the Scotland game will kick-off at 2am in Lima on Wednesday back home, with the match against the Mexicans in the Azteca a 1am start on Sunday morning.

Christie added: “These games are totally new to me, as they are to most of the boys as we haven’t been in this part of the world before.

“Most of us haven’t come up against this sort of opposition. We are facing two teams who are going to the World Cup, so we know it will be tough, but these are the games you want to be involved in.

“We want to test ourselves at this level. We know the games will be challenging, but we are more than confident we can get a couple of good results.”

ON THE RUN…Ryan Christie puts pressure on St Johnstone in a rare Celtic first team appearance.

Christie, who cost ex-boss Ronny Deila £500,000 from Inverness Caley Thistle in September 2015, has made only 13 appearances for the champions.

He added: “It’s important I do well in these matches because I’m obviously heading back to Celtic.

“I really want to kick on, I want to start pre-season on a high. I want to show I am good enough to play there.

“I haven’t spoken to the Brendan Rodgers since the end of the season when he told me to enjoy this trip, come back and then we’d take things from there.

“I need to hit the ground running, I know that. You can always worry about losing your sharpness. I always enjoy pre-season and I know how important this one is for me.

“I have every confidence I can come in and be a success at Celtic. I know I can fit into the manager’s plans and really kick-start my Celtic career.

“I am a different player than I was 18 months ago – for a start, I am involved at international level. I have helped Aberdeen finish second again and I feel I am an all-round better performer.

“I have a hunger and desire to win games. At Aberdeen, we really pushed on so these are important qualities I can take with me back to Parkhead.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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