HAMPDEN goal hero Ryan Christie thanked boss Brendan Rodgers for keeping faith in him.
The Celtic midfielder repaid his manager’s confidence by scoring the only goal of a nervy Betfred League Cup Final against his old Aberdeen team-mates at Hampden this afternoon.
Christie, who signed a new three-year deal at the champions last month, came into the first team as a second-half substitute against Hearts in the semi-final of the competition eight games ago.
The 23-year-old helped turn the game around against the Edinburgh side and was involved in the three goals that saw the Parkhead men book their spot against the Dons today.
Christie, who scored a sublime third goal at Murrayfield in October, has been a revelation ever since and was well worthy of his new contract with the champions.
The player returned to Parkhead after 18 months on loan at Pittodrie and realised it would be a make-or-break campaign. He accepted the challenge and is reaping the rewards.
He admitted: “I was delighted when I found out I was played. It would have been easy for the manager, Brendan Rodgers, to go back to players who have played so well for him over the years.
“But credit to him, he kept the same team that have been on form for the last few weeks and, thankfully, it paid off.”
Christie admitted: “I had a lot of mixed emotions going into a big game, having to play a lot of my old team-mates.
“Every single time we play them that’s exactly what you get, they follow you all over the back, so to get over the line in a close one, and obviously we had chances, is amazing.
“I’m just so so happy. Especially for all the boys who have worked with me and I think we deserved to win today.
“I said when I signed the new deal I wanted to take trophies back so to get one so early in the season is pretty special.”
Christie was asked about the chances of Celtic pulling off the remarkable feat of three domestic clean sweeps.
He answered: “We’re not allowed to speak about that just yet.”