RYAN Christie wants Caley Thistle back in the Premiership – so he can play at the Caledonian Stadium as a visiting player.
Former Caley Jag Christie listened in anguish as his hometown club were relegated from the top flight and hopes they can get back there next season.
While the 22-year-old was preparing for Aberdeen’s game away at Partick Thistle the following day, Christie had Hamilton Accies’ fixture against Dundee on the radio. Inverness needed a Dundee win and to beat Motherwell to stay up and despite fulfilling their part of the bargain, Accies thumped the Dark Blues 4-0 to send them down.
Christie, a Celtic player on a season-long loan with the Dons, has kept a watchful eye on their progress and would like the opportunity to walk out at the Caledonian Stadium from the visiting dressing room.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played at Inverness as a visiting player and I’d quite like to do that, for no other reason that playing against your home side is always nice,” said Christie. “Hopefully I’d get a decent reception!
“I always had an eye on what they were doing. It sounds bad to say but there was a game at Pittodrie towards the end of the season that finished 1-0 and at the back of my head I’m thinking ‘if we’d have taken a draw, that could have helped them’.
“I remember listening to the Hamilton game against Dundee on the final day of the season and it wasn’t a nice feeling hearing it be confirmed.
“I almost forgot after the summer until the fixture list came out and it wasn’t there. The sooner they get back up the better.”
Christie was signed by Celtic in August 2015 from Caley Thistle but he spent the next three months back on loan under John Hughes. The league champions recalled him in January 2016 but he made just six appearances in the remainder of the season.
After a similar start to the following season, Derek McInnes moved in the January to bring him in on loan and he impressed greatly, prompting a renewal in the summer.
He made a flying visit back to Inverness last Thursday and popped into his old club, admitting the level of change had surprised him.
“There’s been a lot of change. Even being at the stadium and seeing the old club shop gone is strange,” said Christie. “I left when John Hughes was there and there’s been Richie and now Robbo.
"I’ve never worked under Robbo but a couple of times he’s taken me away with Scotland and I’ve really enjoyed his training sessions. Hopefully he’s the right man for the job because no-one more than me wants to see them back up.
“I was chatting to Scott Kellacher, who was my coach through the youth setup, to see how the boys were getting on. It’s nice to see them hit a bit of form and try climb back up the table.”
He gives McInnes immense credit for affording him first-team opportunities and simply getting games under his belt has been a joy.
Despite frustration at his red card against Rangers last Wednesday ruling him out of Sunday’s rematch, his Pittodrie experience has been beneficial.
“I’ve really enjoyed working under Derek McInnes and the club as a whole, look after the players. It’s got the feeling of a one-club city and you’re constantly bumping into fans. I’m hoping to kick on now; the plan over the summer was to try play as many games as I can. I’ve been lucky to start a lot and my aim is to keep my place in the starting line-up,” he said.
“I’ve been asked a couple of times about my plans and to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. You enjoy your football more when you’re not constantly thinking ahead and that’s what I’ll continue to do, until the time comes when I have to make a decision. Hopefully I’ll have a good season at Aberdeen then review where my career is at from there.