"I went completely crazy"; When Celtic star Matt O'Riley decided his international future

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2022

Sometimes, for all of us, little moments can dictate our future in unexpected ways, and that’s what happened for Celtic star Matt O’Riley.

While watching Denmark take on England at Euro 2020, O’Riley was – of course – rather torn. He’d represented England at youth level, of course. But he also had affection for Denmark, through his Danish mother. It was a house divided when the Three Lions took on the Danes.

Sometimes, an incident sparks an emotional reaction that’s quite revealing. And in the case of Celtic star O’Riley, it was Mikkel Damsgaard’s free kick hitting the back of the net against England.

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

It was then that he realised; he could get used to celebrating Denmark goals. He told Bold: “Before the match, I did not know who to stick with. 

“But when Mikkel Damsgaard scored on the free kick, I went completely crazy. It was here that I really found out that I might be a little more Danish, because I was [up celebrating] with my mother, with whom I watched the match.

“My father was sitting in another room in the house, but even he came running in and cheered with us. And he’s even fully English, so I asked him, ‘What are you up to?!’

“I could just feel, ‘I want to be a part of this’.”

Celtic accept tiny Ibrox allocation as a nervy six days begin | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail

Celtic accept tiny Ibrox allocation as a nervy six days begin | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic star Matt O’Riley and his crystallised moment have led him on exciting Denmark path

In fairness, who can’t relate to this in some way?

Ask any Celtic fan, and they’ll be able to tell you who scored the first Hoops goal they ever saw in person. That moment stuck with them; the roar of the crowd, the feeling of absolutely ecstasy, total strangers hugging each other. If you must know; Craig Burley v Hearts, Celtic Park, December 1997.

Big goals and moments can lead people on a truly divergent, but wonderful path. Or they can make you realise things you knew all along. For Celtic man Matt O’Riley, seeing Damsgaard’s free kick rocket past Jordan Pickford was a crystallised moment.

He knew he had to aim to be a Denmark player.

Well, so far, it’s going well. He’s not in the senior team yet, but he could make his DBU U21s debut on the 29th. O’Riley, after a fantastic season with MK Dons and now Celtic, is right in contention.

And while many will likely question his motives, as is the case when players change their national allegiance, Celtic man O’Riley seemed to have an authentic moment in making his decision.

Power to him. Let’s hope he can start banging in free kicks like Damsgaard, that’d only help!

Read more: The SPFL’s post-split thinking becomes clearer; Celtic fixture reversals could be required