AT the age of 25, and having overcome the injury problems that hampered his attempts to establish himself at Celtic, Ryan Christie could have been forgiven for thinking he had finally come of age at the club during the last campaign.

Despite the fierce battle for places in the attacking roles in behind the strikers, Christie clocked up 43 appearances in all competitions for Neil Lennon’s side last term, hitting 19 goals in the process. A feat all the more impressive when you consider he went into the season off the back of a lengthy spell out after suffering a serious facial injury against Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup semi-final last April.

Perhaps it is in knowing those darker times that Christie is able to keep his own feet on the ground when things are going so well for him, and could explain why he isn’t resting on his laurels during Celtic’s pre-season training camp in Loughborough this week.

Christie, in fact, feels far from secure as a definite starter in the eyes of his manager when the new season kicks off, and the fear of dropping out of the Celtic team is no bad thing in his book. It is all the motivation he needs to continue working hard to improve as a player and ensure that he stays in Lennon’s favours.

“I need to keep working hard in training so that, hopefully, come the first game of the season I’m in the starting eleven," Christie told the Celtic website. "To do that, I also need to stay injury-free which comes back to looking after myself throughout pre-season.

“We have so many amazing backroom staff to help us and give us that extra one per cent. When you have people doing all that for you, it makes it so much easier to look after yourself off the park.

“I love the start of the season for the pure buzz of getting back in about it. It’ll be even better when the games come back around after such a long break and I’m really looking forward to it.”