Ryan Christie is hoping to follow Callum McGregor into the Celtic first-team by getting the most that he can out of his current loan spell away from the club.

McGregor was farmed out to English side Notts County on loan back in 2013, and returned to Celtic a more accomplished player for the experience.

Christie is hoping that his own second temporary spell at Aberdeen can do the same for him after already propelling him into the Scotland squad, earning his first cap for his country last Thursday against The Netherlands under interim manager Malky Mackay.

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And he will be going back to Celtic in the summer with a point to prove after honing his game at Pittodrie under the watchful eye of manager Derek McInnes.

“Callum is a good example,” Christie said. “Playing alongside him during the Scotland gathering, you can see that he is an exceptional player.

“He is so gifted on the ball and you look at the way he has come through at Celtic.

“He had to go away to England to get games and progress.

“It shows that, when you do out on loan, it doesn’t mean that you are on the road out of that club.

“You can see how Callum has kicked on. He looks like one of the Top 10 players at Celtic right now and that’s great for him.

“It’s also good for me to look at him, look at his road and try to replicate it.

“Playing week in and week out helps my belief instead of sitting there on the sidelines and thinking that I’m not good enough.

“Playing for Scotland helps confidence, it shows that I might be able to go back to Celtic and prove a point.”

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One of the key things that Christie believes will stand him in good stead upon his return to his parent club, is that he is already getting a taste of dealing with pressure and expectation week-in, week-out at Aberdeen.

While not on the same level as the demands placed upon players at Celtic, Christie says the expectant Dons crowd are toughening him up and helping him to play with that weight on his shoulders.

It has given him the confidence to step up and try to be one of the main players for his team, rather than just a youngster who looks to make an impact from the bench or someone simply making up the numbers.

“There are demands at Aberdeen,” he said. “It’s one of the main reasons why I chose to go on loan.

“I’m not saying it is as big as Celtic, but there is still that pressure and expectation to win games week in and week out.

“It was key that I had that pressure placed onto me every game. That experience helps me and that I can deal with it.

“I’ve felt this season and the end of last season, I can make myself a key player in teams instead of going back to being a shirt-filler.

“I’m feeling confident that I can be the one people look at to influence or change a game.

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“It’s nice to have that confidence and I’m lucky I have it at Aberdeen.

“Everyone talks about when you go out on loan and getting game time, but it has really helped me to be playing every week.

“I’m really loving my football in Aberdeen with the way we are playing.

“It is showing. My performances at the beginning of the season were a bit up and down and my consistency is something that I need to work on.

“I need to make sure I’m churning out good performances on a weekly basis.

“If I can get consistent at the top of my game, I’ll be happy.”

Christie’s development took another step forward with his maiden appearance for the national side, turning in a creditable display on his international bow at the venue where he currently struts his stuff at club level.

He is hoping that both he and his Aberdeen teammates can stay in the reckoning for the next set of friendly fixtures when they come around in March, and he says that the fact they are involved at such a level at all is testament to the progress that Derek McInnes’s side have made.

“Playing for Scotland was a brilliant experience,” he said. “There were a few of us made debuts and showed we can make the step up. I hope we didn’t look out of place.

“Having three Aberdeen players in the squads shows we have made the step up.

“It felt good. I felt like I could affect the game, which was good.

“Playing for Scotland, I now have to make sure I kick-on and return to club level and keep my performances as high as I can week in and week out.

“The gaffer was speaking about more friendlies being arranged, so the aim is to do well for Aberdeen and ensure that my face remains in the picture for the international scene.”