"I got lucky"; Celtic man makes injury admission after Sydney flashpoint
Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley has insisted he was lucky not to come away with an injury after being on the receiving end of a poor challenge from Everton’s Isaac Price.
The 21-year-old was reinstated to Ange Postecoglou’s starting 11 in the Sydney Super Cup as the Bhoys faced off against English Premier League opposition.
The Hoops put in a dominant display, with O’Riley once again at the centre of that, playing in the deep-lying midfield role.
Although the game down under was a friendly, the pace and sharpness of the fixture didn’t have the feel of a non-competitive outing.
And in the first half, Frank Lampard’s side put in a number of tough challenges, which saw members of his squad come away with cautions.
O’Riley was on the receiving end of one of those challenges, which came in from Everon youngster Isaac Price, who caught the midfielder high up the leg.
In any competitive match, that tackle from Price would have almost certainly been a red card after catching the Danish under-21 international high and late.
Speaking after the 0-0 draw, O’Riley revealed that he had a conversation with the referee regarding the tackle and insisted he was ‘lucky’ to come away with an injury.
He said [Daily Record]: “I got lucky. I’m not even sure he got booked, I don’t think he did. It was on my knee. I got quite a big mark from it.
“I had a word with the referee. He was trying to explain it to me, but I didn’t really understand. On another day, I get my leg broken. I didn’t get a fright, but at the same time, when I watched it back, I realised I got lucky. It was high, it was just above my shin.
“I think because it was only a friendly he didn’t want to give a red card. But, it’s a red card every other day.”
Celtic lucky not to be on the end of O’Riley injury disaster.
Whilst these friendly matchups will prove valuable for Ange Postecoglou and his players, there is one piece of news the Celtic manager wouldn’t have wanted to come away with from Australia.
And that was having any of his first-team stars picking up significant injuries against Sydney FC and Everton.
Thankfully, the Bhoys have come through both games all clear. But it could have been very different after O’Riley was on the end of a nasty challenge.
You could tell almost instantly how bad the challenge was, with the midfielder staying down after a high tackle to his leg.
Had his standing foot been planted, it could have ended in disaster for O’Riley and Celtic, with the former Fulham man potentially out injured for an extensive period.
We can be extremely pleased that wasn’t the case, and we should have a full squad for our return to competitive action at the end of December.
In other news, The importance of Celtic’s January transfer plans could have become more significant.