"Spoils it a bit"; Why Celtic's Matt O'Riley has been left frustrated after Denmark U21 goal

By David Walton

June 15, 2022

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley wasn’t in a celebratory mood as he reflected on his first-ever goal for Denmark under-21s.

O’Riley slotted home a superb volley against Turkey yesterday in a game the Danes would win 3-2. The result secured a second placed spot in their Euro under-21 qualifying group which means they’ll take part in the playoffs as they attempt to qualify for the tournament based in Romania and Georgia next year.

However, Denmark would’ve qualified for the tournament directly if they had won the game by a margin of 3 goals. Instead, they were pipped to the final direct spot by Switzerland, who who ended their group campaign with 2 goals more than the Danes.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And O’Riley has admitted that it’s left a sour taste in his mouth as he reflected on a frustrating afternoon for his nation. As quoted by Bold.dk, O’Riley said: “The ball just came to me and I didn’t think much about it. I hit it well, and sometimes you’re lucky that it goes in, and fortunately it did with me. It was special to score for Denmark, but it doesn’t feel like that right now. We haven’t got to the European Championships, so it doesn’t feel special now. The mood in the team wasn’t great in the dressing room either, so that spoils it a bit.

“It’s hard to enjoy it because it was a game that we could have won 4-0 or 5-1 because we had plenty of chances, so it’s annoying that it didn’t go our way.

“After reflecting on it all and talking to my family, I can be happy about my first goal for Denmark. It’s great that I scored my first goal while my family was in the stadium watching it.”

Matt O’Riley still has a big chance of Euro under-21 qualification

The draw for the playoffs will be held next week but specific dates for the fixtures themselves have yet to be announced.

O’Riley’s Denmark will come up against one of Ukraine, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, or Iceland. Without tempting fate, the Danes would fancy themselves against many in that particular bracket.

For now, his attention will turn back to pre-season training with Celtic before his next international camp in September. And he should come back to Parkhead in generally positive spirits after what was a stunning goal yesterday. You can view it for yourself below:

O’Riley is going to have a major role to play in the Celtic midfield next term with Ange Postecoglou about to get a full pre-season from him. In that sense, the Celtic support will just be glad he hasn’t appeared to pick up any injury blows during his time away.

Any frustration that’s been left lingering with the Denmark result yesterday needs to be parked and put on ice until September. It’s a fresh start at Celtic this summer and O’Riley will need to use pre-season to prove his worth all over again.

You have to say there are spots up for grabs in Ange’s team next year, especially in the engine room. Supporters will be expecting O’Riley to be one of the first to make his mark.

In other news, Fraser Forster identifies key aspect of Celtic career that will help at Tottenham