Ryan Christie has waited too long for his chance at Celtic to take his sparkling run of form for granted.
Christie collected the Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month award after taking his recent tally to six in nine Celtic matches when scoring the opener in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Motherwell.
The 23-year-old has had to be patient since signing for Celtic in September 2015 – spending almost two years on loan, firstly back at Inverness and then with Aberdeen.
Hard work proved the antidote to any frustration over sitting on the sidelines and that enabled him to hit the ground running when the opportunity presented itself in the Betfred Cup semi-final.
He scored a spectacular goal and had a hand in both the other goals against Hearts and has never looked back since – starting twice for Scotland and netting the cup-final winner against the Dons.
But the new-found adulation will not go to Christie’s head as he sets about continuing his run of goals and assists.
“It’s my job as an attacking midfielder,” he said. “The manager wants goals from all areas of the park and even from midfield at this club you need to carry a goal threat.
“I’m happy that I’m doing that just now and long may it continue.
“The boys I am playing with, it’s easy to feed the ball to them and let them score too.
“Obviously the past couple of months show how quickly football can change but at the same time I know how it can turn the other way. I need to keep working as hard as ever and hopefully it will continue.”
Another example of how quickly football can change is the form of Celtic’s opponents on Saturday, Kilmarnock.
They were bottom of the Premiership when Steve Clarke was appointed manager in mid-October last year but went on to seal a record points total and now travel to Parkhead on Saturday top of the table following their midweek victory over Livingston and setbacks for Celtic and Rangers.
But Christie says talk of Killie winning the league is premature as he focuses on a run of games before the winter break.
“It’s too early to say,” he said. “It’s just the start of December and there’s such a big run of games for everybody up until the break. Once the break comes, then you can start talking about it
“Obviously they are playing very, very well and their manager is doing a fantastic job.
“But we want to be top of the league as long as we can so we will be looking to win on Saturday.
“We know Saturday is a big game and hopefully we can get over that and put a run together towards the break.”