THIS season hasn’t ended in the way that anyone expected, nor wanted. Ryan Christie, despite picking up another Premiership winners medal, is no exception to that rule.

It may be though that as time goes on, he will reflect on what he achieved during the curtailed campaign with a sense of quiet satisfaction.

The understated 25-year-old doesn’t lack self-belief, even though he isn’t the sort to shout about his undoubted ability from the rooftops. But despite his self-assurance, he admits to feeling pangs of doubt about his place in Neil Lennon’s Celtic vision way back last summer.

Shortly after Lennon succeeded Brendan Rodgers last year, Christie suffered that infamous and brutal facial injury against Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden which prematurely ended that campaign for the attacker too, costing him an opportunity to impress his new manager.

That left him feeling he had to prove himself all over again, but Christie needn’t have been unduly worried. Not only has he cemented his place as a key figure for Lennon and Celtic, he now credits his boss for allowing him to truly flourish in a more attacking role.

"The gaffer has been great for me personally,” Christie told 5Live. “I can't really thank him enough.

"He took over last season but I had my facial injury and he didn't see me playing.

"It was in my head that maybe he had someone else for my position but from the start he has played me in my preferred role, off the striker.

"I have enjoyed every minute of it and I would say I have become a better player under him. The gaffer has given me a license to express myself more.

"I loved playing under Brendan Rodgers but it was probably a more rigid formation and a number eight role. The current gaffer has let me loose a bit and you can see that in the goals and assists I have.

"I am glad that I have repaid him of sorts.”

For all that Christie would have preferred to play the season out, he isn’t having claims that it diminishes Celtic’s achievement to have been crowned champions before all of the scheduled fixtures were fulfilled.

And he says that a mixture of humility, determination to atone for their December defeat to Rangers and an ability to handle the pressure that their rivals couldn’t match were the critical factors in pulling them 13 points clear of the Ibrox side by the time hostilities – on the field, at least – were brought to a halt.

"Nobody can dispute that it is fair to crown us champions now,” he said.

"When you look at how commanding we were in the league when football stopped it was the right thing to do.

"It is frustrating not to get to finish the season off but we still look back at all the hard work of the season and how well we performed.

"There is always pressure at Celtic and you feel it going into every game. But obviously at the end of December when we lost the Old Firm game it was spoken about so much. Everybody thought it was our turn to bow down.

"We have spoken a lot about the trip to Dubai, but we went out there and pressed the reset button. We made sure we were as humble as we possibly could be and from the turn of the year we were frightening.

"Rangers couldn't cope with that and to be 13 points clear when it stopped says a lot.

"The gaffer was really good at settling us down after that defeat in December and making sure we were firing on all cylinders.

"It is a wee bit frustrating that we didn't get to celebrate it with our fans, team-mates and staff. But it certainly doesn't feel like any less of an achievement, that's for sure.

"Hopefully, after everything calms down, we will get the chance to celebrate it in style with everyone.

"For now, we just have to sit tight until then.”

Meanwhile, his captain, Scott Brown, agrees with Christie’s assessment, making an attempt to set the record straight yesterday after Rangers legend Ally McCoist claimed that Celtic’s title win should have an asterisk next to it in the history books.

“I think everyone knows that this season has been totally different,” Brown said.

“Nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes and we hope that nothing like this ever happens again. We have to make sure people are safe and not worry about other things.

“But, at the end of the day, we have been the best team in Scotland all year.

“We have been the best team in Scotland for the past eight years before this one as well.

“They have had 85 per cent of the season to try and catch us and nobody has managed to do it.

“It shows our willingness to keep pushing and keep creating history. We’re still doing that now.”