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First team

Christie – A big step in the right direction

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

“I’m absolutely buzzing, I’m absolutely desperate to get started now. I’m really excited for the challenge ahead, a new challenge for me, one I’ve always wanted to be part of.”

Ryan Christie has had a busy summer. 

The 26-year-old has played for Scotland in Euro 2020 and already contested in the Champions League and the Europa League with Celtic since the restart.

Most recently, he played in an Old Firm fixture at Ibrox and in the next week or so he has three World Cup qualifiers to play a part in across three separate countries.

All that, and he’s just completed his first transfer to England, ready to move to a coastal town he’s yet to visit.

Speaking from a hotel room in Denmark, where he and the Scotland squad are based before the first of the nation’s trio of fixtures, he bristled with anticipation as he spoke for the first time to afcb.co.uk.

“Throughout my whole career I’ve always wanted to try my hand down in England and I’m really excited to join a team who’s going for promotion, going out to win games and achieve success. I’m used to that at Celtic so hopefully I can help bring that to Bournemouth,” he began.

“The attraction was a bit of everything. It sounds a bit crazy but I’ve actually had an affection for Bournemouth for years now. Believe it not Bournemouth put a bid in for me back in my Inverness days as a really young player. You could say I’ve looked out for the club for a good few years now.

“As soon as I heard the club were an option, I managed to speak to Scott Parker and with the way he spoke, he’s a big encouragement in terms of the brand of football and the way his teams play. 

“From watching what he did with Fulham and then seeing him come to Bournemouth I think I’m taking a big step in the right direction.

“The whole feeling of it was right and even though I did have a couple of other options this was the one that I was just desperate to get over the line. 

“It was a massive decision, especially with the new manager coming in at Celtic and the club starting really well. 

“Everything was very positive after a frustrating season last year, so it was about sitting down and weighing up my options, but I came to the decision that I was desperate to try this challenge and it’s the perfect time for me to try it.

“I’ve had six great and successful years at Celtic and hopefully that can help me even more in coming down and doing really well for Bournemouth.

“I wanted to put as a big priority moving to a team where I thought I’d fit in and it would suit my style of play. After speaking to the manager and keeping a close eye on Bournemouth in the last few weeks and games I really got that feeling.

“Getting the number ten shirt was just the icing on the cake, when I got a text saying that it would be my number, I was even more buzzing with that. 

“It’s been my dream to wear the number ten my whole career and this is the first time I’m going to get to do that.”

The move is a big one in the 20-cap Scot’s career path but also geographically, both from Christie’s recent home in Glasgow but also from his hometown in the Highlands, Inverness.

The move is almost as exciting off the pitch as it promises to be on it, and the midfielder’s only heard good things about his soon-to-be base on the south coast.

“I’ve never been to Bournemouth,” he laughed. “Everyone’s been in my ear since the news saying what a lovely place it is, I’m looking forward to eventually getting down there and maybe getting a bit of sun after so much time freezing up in Scotland.

“I’ve said to my mum and dad, they’re going to be coming from one end of the country to the other anytime they want to visit. I think they’re happy enough with that, to come down and see the sights of Bournemouth – it’s another aspect of the move that fits perfectly.

“A few of the boys away here with Scotland are pally with a few of the boys at Bournemouth and have passed on how much they rave about it and are positive, that obviously helps when you hear so many people saying good things.

“I’m desperate to meet everyone down there, it’s a part of the club that’s most important, my team-mates.

“Moving to England will be tough, but the one positive in this stage of my career is with what I’ve achieved so far. I’ve had the opportunity before in my younger days to head down and give England a try, but I’ve now got much more confidence in myself in coming and feeling ready for it.

“The international scene also helps with that. I’ve been lucky enough to play for Scotland for a good few years and have quite a few mates who are down the road and have done well. I like to think I can train on the same level as them and that gives me confidence that even though it’s a big challenge it’s one I’m up to.

“My job on the park is to create and score goals, whether that’s in midfield, off the striker or on the wings. Hopefully I can get the people that come and watch us up off their seats, I take great pride in having that pressure on my back and I enjoy that.”

As his first evening as a Cherries player closes, attentions turn back from Vitality Stadium and towards World Cup qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria, massive footballing distractions before he finally makes his first trip to his new home and the large and latest step in his career.

“It’ll be hectic for sure, but I’m more than used to that,” he said. “With Celtic over the last few years the schedule’s been mental when playing in Europe so I’m more than used to that.

“These games, if anything, kind of help with it. Everything can be a bit up in the air when you move clubs and it can be a bit stressful, but if you’re just constantly playing football that takes your mind off it, doing something that you love.

“I’m sure that first game for Bournemouth will roll round in no time. Hopefully it will be off the back of a successful international break – I’ll be ready to go.” 

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