WHEN the call initially came, it was too soon for Ryan Christie.

As a teenager just beginning to make his way in the professional game, Christie had the chance to leave home comforts behind and make the big move down south.

But he opted against it, instead remaining at hometown team Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

However, both Christie, and seemingly Cherries, kept tabs on each other ever since.

Following his two seasons in the Inverness senior side, Christie earned a switch to Scottish giants Celtic in 2015.

It took a while to fully establish himself, sent out on loan to Aberdeen for 18 months, before nailing down a spot in the Glasgow side upon his return in the summer of 2018.

Trophy after trophy followed during his highly successful stint at Parkhead, helping the club to back-to-back domestic trebles, also featuring regularly in both the Europa League and Champions League along the way.

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But when the call came again from Cherries this summer, the timing was right to try his hand south of the border.

“Since I was about 17 or 18, they put in a bid all the way back then in my time at Inverness,” Christie explained in an interview with the Daily Echo.

“At the time I was still very young and hadn’t really established myself at Inverness.

“So I didn’t want to make the move down too early. But when a club puts an expression of interest in for you, you take that as a compliment.

“You tend to kind of look for the team in the following years. When they came back in this time, it just felt like the kind of perfect time to come down and give it a go.”

Despite following Cherries from afar, Christie had never before even visited the town of Bournemouth before committing to a three-year deal.

All paperwork and medical checks were completed in Scotland, as the 26-year-old prepared for a flight to Denmark with the national team.

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Reflecting on the chaotic final days of the transfer window, Christie said: “Obviously it was the mad kind of stress of deadline day and that kind of side of things. Then eventually getting it over the line, being delighted and then there was obviously a bit of a delay where normally when you sign with a new team you go down and meet everyone straightaway.

“Whereas I had to finish my time with Scotland and it was brilliant, I got two good results with them, which set me up well. To be fair, once I’ve come down here I’ve loved every minute of it, so it’s been good.

“To be fair, the moment you mention this area to everyone, everyone kind of raves about it.

“I didn’t hear a bad word about the place in itself at all. And I’m pals with Ryan Fraser. He’s stayed down here as well.

“And Jayden Stockley, who I played with at Aberdeen. So I still had people around me I could ask and get a wee bit of knowledge from.

“And the manager especially, speaking to him on the phone. The way he sold it, it just seemed like the perfect fit.”

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Asked about his conversations with Fraser over the move, Christie added: “It was all coming out on Sky Sports and stuff and at my end I didn’t even know if it was done yet, so I didn’t want to go around asking people about the area before I was even moving down!

“Unfortunately for him (Fraser) he picked up a knock with Scotland and was sent home early, but everyone, even the boys in Scotland were asking about it or raving about it.

“For me it was a kind of no brainer at the time.”

Christie was linked with other clubs over the summer, notably Premier League duo Southampton and Burnley.

“There was a few other options to be honest,” revealed the Scotland international.

“But when I kind of sat back and felt it, it just honestly was more a kind of gut feeling.

“You always take it as a compliment when a team is interested in you and you’ve always got to appreciate that. But in terms of style of football and what I wanted to achieve and stuff like that, I just felt like Bournemouth was the kind of perfect fit.

“Everything seemed to just line up when it came down to it and when it came down to my gut feeling, it just felt that Bournemouth was right.

“So far, I know it’s early days obviously, but I felt like I’ve made the right decision, which is nice.”

He added: “My girlfriend is down with me just now. She’s come down for the first week or so.

“She’ll head back up the road to get stuff sorted up there and then she’ll come back down. So the house hunting is on for right now!

“But obviously we’ll settle in as quick as we can I’m sure and everybody at the club has been incredible helping, anything we’ve needed they’ve got it sorted.

“So it just kind of lets me concentrate on the football, because everybody knows how long a season it is in the Championship.”

Having made his debut last weekend off the bench against Barnsley before starting the midweek win over QPR, Christie has this week been out taking in his new surroundings, posting a video via his Instagram of a walk along the beach.

But what else does he like to get up to when away from the training field?

Christie said: “I’d like to think I’m a golfer, but my handicap probably says different!

“But I’ve heard there’s a couple of lovely courses around here. I’m sure hopefully in between a couple of games I’ll manage to get out for a few rounds.

“First and foremost I’ll need to get the clubs shipped down!”