Matt O’Riley has shown in 11 months with Celtic that he’s has it all.
However, with the influential the captain Callum McGregor now back in the group, the midfielder is poised to break an unavoidable absence and add an additional string of gold to his bow. O’Riley’s creativity has been evident from the moment he entered the January transfer window and showed it on his debut scoring a crucial goal in the game of Giorgos Giakoumakis at Hearts on Tynecastle.
The Denmark Under-21 player has eye for the ball and a passing skill that can make opponents vulnerable. O’Riley is already an assist for the season’s top winner this season with his jaw-dropping pass to put Jota aside to get the 2nd goal in the 4-0 rout of Rangers in September. It was high on the list of. The dead ball delivery of his is deadly and he is able to spot issues quickly. It was evident in the second half of the season, when Celtic defeated their opposition to claim the title. This was evident in his first 11 games during this time. But, after McGregor crashed into the 50-50 challenge in Leipzig that injured his knee and caused him to be left on the sidelines for two months O’Riley played the next 11 games showing his versatility as well as his ability to take on the opposing side in filling the gap.
The job of covering the skipper’s position is an arduous task for anyone However, O’Riley handled the job with aplomb. O’Riley was a base in the engine area, and was able to keep things moving. He worked hard working hard as he made tackles, broke up plays and setting the foundation for his teammates.
While it was difficult to beat the best during the Champions League, the fact that Celtic did not have one slip in the domestic league during the time without McGregor was a testament to the great work put in by players like Reo Hatate as well as Aaron Mooy, but especially O’Riley.
From the position of being withdrawn the striker continued to score goals. The raking pass to Liel Abada in the game against Dundee United, the desire for Motherwell’s box to make an attack and then put it on the plate of Kyogo Furuhashi in Fir Park.
Similar to his captain he’s an all-rounder. They have both the capability to create opportunities on one side of the field, and the work ethic, determination and game-sense to shut out the opposition at the other.
Only turning 22 there’s a lot more to come from him . the weekend bounce game against Rennes in Portugal signaled to the player that next step that begins to flow from the player are goals.
O’Riley was able to score four goals for Postecoglou this season following his move from MK Dons, in just 20 appearances. In light of his seven appearances on his former club English League One side in the same season before making the move north of the border it was a decent return.
In this instance, O’Riley is one of the few players in Ange Postecoglou’s squad who have yet to sign up for an account.
Okay, If Kyogo Furuhashi hadn’t smashed one off the line in front of Motherwell at Parkhead that could have been going into the goal, or had he not had the misfortune of hitting the goal-line or being blocked by goalkeepers He’d have been off the mark in no time.
The facts regardless of his appearance on the scoresheet of the national team’s Under-21 squad this season, he scored that he scored zero.
With the number of opportunities his creations create and the roles they are placed in, that will likely be changed in the near future.
It could be a practice game in Portugal to help Celtic are preparing for their return to competitive play at Pittodrie however there was some real class in O’Riley’s finals against Rennes.
The first one was hit on the half-volley by his left foot. The second was then swept to the corner of the lower half with his left.
In a similar way, equally at ease on both sides, O’Riley has served notice that when he returns in more advanced position frequently as McGregor’s back, and watching the field behind him, when it comes to the Champions’ Premiership title defence gets underway again at Aberdeen next Saturday he will be able to eliminate that scoreless season to the trash.
It’s an extremely positive prospect for Celtic due to the fact that they already have a wealth of weaponry and talent within their group of players.
The addition of goals from O’Riley to the mix adds another stressor for managers of opposition for their already long list of tasks.
Goals are, obviously not a problem in the case of Kyogo. Kyogo is a goal-scoring Japanese player has 11 points in his account to top the club’s chart at the moment of the campaign. He is back on track in Portugal by running off the shoulder of defenders and a sweet finish that was sent over the stuck Rennes goalkeeper following the one-on-one battle.
O’Riley as well as Kyogo were among the group of players who took an opportunity to run during the training game to help them prepare for the actual action that begins at the Granite City.
Yuki Kobayashi won the final 12-minutes of the game to experience his first experience of Celtic action at the close of the week’s work in Portugal.
While the most recent Asian signing is not eligible for the first-team until the 1st of January The rest of the squad is good to go and will be joined with the arrival of three of World Cup stars for the coming weeks at Lennoxtown.