Celtic boss explains Matt O'Riley situation after short derby cameo

By David Walton

April 3, 2022

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has explained why he took off Matt O’Riley at Ibrox after such a short cameo appearance.

O’Riley was brought on for Tom Rogic just after the hour mark. However, after going down with a slight knock, Ange ended up taking him back off again with only 14 minutes remaining.

Celtic went on to record a heroic 2-1 success in Govan that takes us 6 points clear at the top of the Premiership. With only 6 games remaining however, it’s important we keep as many of our players injury-free as possible as the pressure ramps up.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And thankfully, it looks as O’Riley is going to be fine in the short-term along with Greg Taylor, who also came off in the second half.

Speaking to Celtic TV, Ange said: “They shouldn’t be too bad. Greg was just cramp. Matty got a bit of a decent knock. He probably could’ve soldiered on but with the game being as it is and we’ve got a bench now that can make a difference, we thought we would take him off and just protect him.”

O’Riley has been a big part of the Celtic team since his January arrival from MK Dons, making 14 appearances for the Hoops in total [Transfermarkt].

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This is certainly pleasing from a Celtic perspective. It didn’t look great that Matt had to immediately go off after his knock, and there were question marks then about whether he would be back in the short-term.

Thankfully, Ange is effectively telling us all here that O’Riley’s sub was nothing more than precautionary. Whether he’ll be back for next week’s game against St Johnstone remains to be seen. But it certainly doesn’t appear to be anything too concerning.

You could see how gutted O’Riley was of course. He was clearly looking to make a big impact in Govan this afternoon. He started well too as he continued to play a part in Celtic keeping their midfield control.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It’s important that we continue to have these options available to us between now and the summer. It’s clear this Celtic squad is thriving due to being able to rely on each other. Plenty of players are getting plenty of rest time at this stage, and we’re seeing how effective that is on the pitch.

As for when O’Riley will return to the starting XI, that’s really down to Ange. The Denmark under-21 international was a starter against Ross County before the international break and continues to play a big role in our title push.

And Ange will just be thankful the injury is nothing serious. Taking him off proved to be the right decision in the end.

In other news, Kris Boyd concedes the title to Celtic live on Sky Sports