Ryan Christie: If Celtic win I lose... but still win

Extricated from proceedings early, Ryan Christie watched helplessly as his Aberdeen team-mates battled to close out their victory over Hibernian. And he will be on the edge of his seat this afternoon as well as he waits to discover if he will be able to join them in the final.
Aberdeen's Ryan Christie celebrates his goal with fellow goalscorer Adam Rooney. Picture: Bill Murray/SNSAberdeen's Ryan Christie celebrates his goal with fellow goalscorer Adam Rooney. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS
Aberdeen's Ryan Christie celebrates his goal with fellow goalscorer Adam Rooney. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

On loan from Celtic, he will be an interested spectator as his parent club face up to Rangers in the other semi-final, aware that if Brendan Rodgers’ men edge one step closer to the treble, he will be consigned to a place in the stand on 27 May.

It leaves him facing a dilemma, with selfish desires embroiled in a tug of war with loyalty to a team that he has not only supported all his life but also pays his salary.

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“A lot of people had obviously been asking me about it before the game, and all I was saying was that I was just concentrating on helping the boys into a final and we’ll take it from there.

“Obviously there’s a great bunch of boys at Celtic too, so I wish them all the best, but sometimes you’ve got to be a bit selfish. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the game and see what happens.”

It is a tough situation for the attacker, who struck to give Aberdeen a 2-0 advantage over Neil Lennon’s side. It was a lead Hibs could claw back but not overhaul. But it does now leave Christie in a quandary, having never previously had any doubt who he wanted to triumph in an Old Firm fixture.

“I’m not too sure how my emotions will be, but either way it’s a win-win, because there’s a good bunch of boys at Celtic and they are having an incredible season. So for them to reach a final would be great and I’d be happy for them. At the same time though, I’d love to play in a final.

“It’s going to be very strange. If it was someone else they were playing it might not be as bad, but because it’s Rangers that’s even more interesting. We’ll wait and see what happens.

“I’ve been very lucky to join Aberdeen and come to a team that are desperate to get to a final, and we’ve managed to do that now. If it goes the way where I get to play in the final then that’ll be very interesting.”

If the former Scottish Young Player of the Year is reticent about nailing his colours to the Rangers mast today, his colleagues are not so bashful. “I didn’t know until after the game that Ryan Christie can’t play unless we play Rangers,” said Jonny Hayes, who struck in the 85th minute to seal what amounts to Aberdeen’s third victory in their past dozen appearances at Hampden. “So for him I’d like to play Rangers.

“He has been superb. I know he hasn’t gotten as much game time as he would have possibly liked but he’s a great boy with a first-class attitude.”

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There is uncertainty for Christie as he looks even further forward.

Having enjoyed his spell in the north east, scoring four goals in his 12 appearances since heading there on loan in January, he does not know what next term will offer. Still in contract at Celtic, he says he will report back there for pre-season and see how things unfold. But with a final to consider, he says decisions on his future will wait.

“We were relieved in the end. Obviously when you go 2-0 up, it sounds stupid to say, but it’s hard to keep your calmness and keep your composure. Hibs getting the goal right before half-time didn’t really help us, and they came into the game a bit more. It shows good determination and good composure that even when it went 2-2 we didn’t crumble and we managed to get the winner.”