RYAN Christie admitted he fought back the tears when he caught a glimpse of his parents at the final whistle at Hampden yesterday. The 23-year-old confirmed his emergence as a star turn in this Celtic team with the all-important goal which decided yesterday’s Betfred Cup final, expertly timing his run from deep and keeping his wits about him to finish with his left foot after Joe Lewis had defied the first effort with his right.

It was an emotional moment for his mum Sharon and dad Charlie, not least because the latter was on the books at Celtic during the 1980s but never featured in a first team game. The punchline was even provided by Rodgers, who quipped that Ryan was no longer known as Charlie’s son. Now Charlie is simply Ryan’s dad.

“It was amazing for my mum and dad to come down and see me,” said Christie, who has ties with Aberdeen having spent 18 months on loan there, missing out on the 2017 Scottish Cup final due to a clause in his deal. “When the final whistle went, I looked up and managed to catch eyes with them. I got a bit emotional myself when that happened because it has been a long road.

“I’ll be honest, it was pretty overwhelming for me,” he added. “It was always going to be a strange day in any case coming up against Aberdeen and it shows that football can work in funny ways sometimes. But seeing my parents brought that overwhelming feeling of happiness and I was delighted for them to be able to see that.

“He [Rodgers] was joking with me about it. If you get a chance, say that to my dad! No, he has helped me so much in my career and it was nice to almost pay him back here. I have been wanting to do things like this ever since I signed for Celtic but it’s nice to not just play but make an impact of games. That’s my job as an attacking midfielder. When it comes in a cup final, that makes it even better.”

While the 23-year-old tasted Scottish Cup glory with Inverness, celebrating it with a lost weekend with his school pals, the challenge with Celtic is relentless. As if he was tempted to pause for breath, there is the small matter of Motherwell in the league on Wednesday and attempting to overhaul new Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership table. “Celtic is relentless,” he said. “With other results on the day, we have been knocked off the top of the table, so we need to make that right as soon as possible.”

If the identity of Celtic’s matchwinner was unpredictable 12 months ago, so too was their goalkeeper, Scott Bain getting the nod to carry on his role as ‘cup goalkeeper’ for the showpiece at the expense of Craig Gordon. As well as Aberdeen competed yesterday, the closest they came to scoring was a mis-timed Jozo Simunovic clearance which crashed off his own crossbar. “When the ball flew past me, I was just hoping it would hit the bar and not drop in. I didn’t get a league medal last season because I didn’t play enough games. I was here for the Scottish Cup final but this medal means more.”