Celtic man Matt O’Riley was in good form during yesterday’s pre-Hearts press conference.

The Denmark under-21 international is always good value in the media. Along with Callum McGregor, Alistair Johnston and Jota, he gives some of the most insightful responses of all our players.

He was at it again yesterday, giving an intriguing answer on some battles he’s had off the park recently.

O'Riley netted Celtic's fourth goal against St. Mirren on Sunday
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

O’Riley was asked by a journalist how he’d found it dropping out of Ange Postecoglou‘s starting line-up at the start of 2023. (Celtic YouTube, 07:15 onwards)

“Yeah of course I’d like to play probably a bit more than I have,” he said.

“I think sometimes there’s things away from football, that people may not see, that can also affect you at times.

“I understand from a fan’s perspective that they only see what happens on the pitch which is completely fair enough.

“But if something is happening elsewhere then sometimes that plays a part on you mentally.

“I think I’m in a much better place now than I was during that time. I’ve learned a lot to be honest.

“Right now I feel like I’m in the best place I’ve been for a long time.”

O’Riley’s message should act as a lesson to us all.

Footballers are judged primarily by what they do on the pitch. It’s always been that way and will continue to be going forward.

O'Riley has been a revelation since joining the club 14 months ago
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But we should also remember that they are humans dealing with all of the same stuff as the rest of us.

O’Riley’s form did seem to dip a little after a great start to the season, but there were clearly reasons for that.

67 Hail Hail also understands the midfielder has had a back issue in recent months, something that hasn’t been widely reported.

He now seems ready to finish the season well, and Ange Postecoglou clearly thinks that could be the case.

He’s surely a strong contender to start tonight’s game. Hopefully he impresses.

In other news, things are looking good for Celtic in terms of UEFA Champions League qualification

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