RYAN CHRISTIE becomes 24 in a fortnight – and he hopes to celebrate with Celtic in the next round of the Scottish Cup and the historic treble treble still very much on the horizon.

The Scotland international midfielder, whose resurgent form in recent months has earned him a contract extension, can’t wait for the Hoops’ first defence of the Scottish Cup when they play Airdrie at Parkhead on Saturday, January 19.

A goal from the elegant Highlander brought in the third successive Betfred League Cup as his first-half effort was enough to beat his former Aberdeen team-mates at Hampden at the start of last month.

The gloss off that silverware success dimmed a little with a stumble at Ibrox in the last encounter of 2018, but Christie remained upbeat as he looked forward to the second part of the campaign.

He said: “After the disappointment on December 29, we took a second to recap and realised – we’re in the last 32 of a European competition, we’ve won a Cup and we’re top of the league with a game in hand.

“We’re still in a very good position, but there’s obviously plenty of work to do coming up. We want to make this a really good season and we need to keep working hard to achieve that.

“The break was nice, but it’s only after so long that you want to get back in training, get back in with the boys and get back to full fitness. The facilities we’ve got at the training camp are amazing and it’s been brilliant so far.”

THE WINNER…Ryan Christie fires the ball beyond Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis as the Hoops celebrate another Betfred League Cup success. Pic: Geo.

Christie added: “There’s a bit more of everything at the winter training camp. At Lennoxtown in December, it was a case of maintaining things. There wasn’t always the time to have full training sessions when you factor in games and recovery time, whereas out here, we need to be back to top fitness.

“The gaffer also wants to enforce all the tactical elements he wants us to work on, and to get us up to speed tactically for the rest of the season.”

After taking on their League One opponents in the national trophy, the champions face a further five games in a hectic two-week period.

St Mirren, Hamilton Accies and St Johnstone squeeze in three successive Premiership home outings before the end of the month and that is followed with a visit to Perth with another match against the Saints on February 3.

Then there is the next round of the Scottish Cup to be negotiated – if, of course, the holders don’t slip up against Airdrie.

Christie will be out to make sure there is no banana skin around the east end of Glasgow in 11 days’ time.

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