Matt O'Riley addresses Celtic pre-season mistakes

By John McGinley

July 17, 2022

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley isn’t shying away from some of the on-pitch errors being made by the team in pre-season but insists it’s all part of the process at this stage of the summer.

Some slack Celtic play directly led to Blackburn Rovers’ opening goal in yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Paradise, following other mistakes made in matches against Rapid Vienna and Banik Ostrava.

However, O’Riley believes improvement will come in time for the start of the competitive action at the end of the month.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As quoted by The Scotsman, he said: “We’d rather make mistakes in pre-season. The back end of last season defensively we were really sound.

“We’re only three or four games in and people still getting sharp. We want to raise our level and not make mistakes at the back but I wouldn’t just blame the defenders, if one person doesn’t do their job it kills the whole team but overall we’re in a good place.

“It’s the best I’ve felt physically and team-wise performance-wise we looked sharper through most of the game which is positive.”

Celtic are still working through the issues

For me, there should be little judgement when it comes to pre-season games. I don’t agree they are meaningless – in fact, they can be very useful for the players and coaching staff beyond the usual, simple fitness comments.

It’s about getting your touch back, tuning back into combinations and putting training work into practice. It all takes time and it’s not really surprising there have been some sloppy moments.

It’s obviously frustrating as supporters to see poor periods of play unfold in the stadium or on television, but as O’Riley says, this is the perfect time to figure out the issues.

This group are determined to stay on a path of improvement and while there will be no excuses made, there’s also little reason to be too concerned.

In other news, Celtic Park prices under the spotlight after support’s Saturday return.