Ryan Christie has admitted that he feared just what his next step in football would be as Celtic kicked off their domestic season in August.

Sitting in the stands having failed to make the cut of the match day playing squad and well aware that he was entering into the final year of his contract at Celtic, the 23-year-old did not anticipate turning things around quite so quickly.

As Celtic prepare to host Leipzig this evening in a Europa League game that the Parkhead side really need to win if they are to harbour any ambitions of making the knockout phase of the tournament. Christie goes into the game with his tail up.

Three goals in as many games has given the affable playmaker more than just a platform; he has also done enough of late that discussions over a long-term deal are on the table.

“It has been a long path and it has needed plenty of patience,” said Christie, who was called into Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad this week. “No players like sitting in the stands or not getting on the park. There have been frustrating times. But, as a whole, I felt I always had a chance, especially after coming back last season.

“There was a lot of talk about me maybe moving on, but I always thought I would have a chance and an opportunity would open up. Obviously, it has been good to get a run of games. It is up to me to push on, keep making and impact and contribute to the team.

“I’d said to myself that I would only look at other options when I was told my time was up at Celtic.

“Until I was told otherwise, I’d decided to keep my head down and keep pushing.”

Christie will be expected to start against the Bundesliga side this evening, an opportunity that the player is determined to make the most of after spending so many nights on the outside looking in.

“The first year under the gaffer we played Champions League and all the big games against Barcelona and Manchester City were great nights,” he said.

“Even as a squad player and being in the stand I was still delighted for the boys in big games.

“It was an incredible night. Hopefully I can be involved in this game and make an impact.

“I still have plenty work to do and I can chip in with a few more goals. I scraped a late penalty on Saturday but I could have scored before that.

“I want to score from that midfield role – there are four or five of us scoring goals from that position and it’s a great one to have.”

Contract talks, too, are progressing well.

it has all been positive.

“I spoke to the manager the other day and he made me aware that he wanted me to stay and there was a pathway and that was all I needed to hear,” said the player. “I’m looking forward and it’s been positive and hopefully we can get that deal sorted soon.”

One notable change about Christie’s play is the manner in which he has developed his physical shape in order to add some steel to his game.

The key has been adding the bulk without compromising on adding weight to what is a slender frame but there has been a far more robust element to his play in recent weeks.

It has not been lost on Rodgers.

“When I came in here I was looking for Champions League players,” said the Celtic manager. “I felt that at that point in time, when i came in, he was short of that physically. And also with the number of games in his legs.

“So, what do you do?

“You don’t just throw him to the garbage. You think ‘ok, what’s the best thing for him.’

“I spoke to Derek McInnes at Aberdeen and it worked brilliantly for Ryan there. He experienced some big games, it was known he was going to play most weeks and then dovetail that with a programme, physically, which allows you to remain lean but strong in the body.

“That allows you to cope with the running and pressing. Ryan’s come back in and then it was just about waiting for his opportunity.

“He’s come in and done well.

“Now at 23 he’s hungry, he’s shown his technical qualities.

“What I love is that he wants to score goals and he gives us that kind of running and penetration without the ball to get in the box.

“So it’s a huge credit to him that he’s went with it and shown the resilience to stay with it, which is important.

“And now he’ll get the rewards of that.

“It’s a great story on how a loan can work for a player. If you can focus on it, take it as a positive rather than a negative, it can work for you in the end.”