Ange discusses upcoming O'Riley debut as Celtic post first footage of him training at Lennoxtown

By John McGinley

January 24, 2022

Matt O’Riley is officially part of the Celtic squad and training with the first team after the club published the first glimpse of him at Lennoxtown.

O’Riley was ineligible to face Alloa Athletic on Saturday evening due to his international transfer clearance not coming through in time.

However, he is now in contention for a spot in Wednesday night’s squad away to Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

The club uploaded multiple clips of him in training today to the official Instagram account’s ‘Stories’ feature.

O’Riley may well be needed in a hurry after a significant injury blow to captain Callum McGregor. Yosuke Ideguchi is also expected to miss matches after a horror tackle on Saturday night.

Reports indicate the captain could be out of action between four and six weeks after a suspected fractured cheekbone suffered during the win vs Alloa.

Thankfully O’Riley has been ever-present for MK Dons this season and played as recently as 15th January.

McGregor blow, but O’Riley & Hatate may be about to star for Celtic | Jackie McNamara on 67HH

McGregor blow, but O’Riley & Hatate may be about to star for Celtic | Jackie McNamara on 67HH
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

And Ange Postecoglou has confirmed he’s in line for a debut this week, telling Celtic TV: “We’ve brought them [O’Riley and Reo Hatate] in because we think they’ll be comfortable and be able to contribute in our setup.

“Reo has already had that taste and I’m sure Matt will get his over the next couple of games. That’s why we’ve brought them in, we think they can help us.

“We’ve got a couple missing through international duty and a couple more injuries so that’s why need a squad. Those guys and others will get their opportunity.”

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

At this point, it would be a surprise not to see O’Riley start at Tynecastle given the players available. At the very least he’ll be coming off the bench before being given a game against Dundee United.

With three huge matches over the next 10 days, culminating in a derby against Rangers, O’Riley’s baptism of fire will be a tough challenge for him but potentially very rewarding.

In other news, “Terrible tackle” – Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou delivers grim update on Ideguchi; calls out ref.