What Ange said to Matt O'Riley that convinced him to join Celtic

By David Walton

February 15, 2022

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley has today explained some details of the Ange Postecoglou phone call that helped convince him to join the Parkhead club.

The January signing was a man in demand before he penned a deal with the Hoops. Swansea boss Russell Martin was a particular admirer [Wales Online], whilst there was also apparent interest from the likes of England, Italy, and Belgium respectively [Sky Sports].

In the end, Ange managed to bag his man, and he’s made an impressive start to life in only 5 games at the club. Already, O’Riley is a key part of the starting XI, and has shone in some of our most difficult domestic matches against the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts, and Rangers in recent weeks.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

And as he spoke to 67HailHail at a fan media event today, the young midfielder explained what convinced him to snub alternative interest and head to Glasgow:

“I always said my next move was very important being at my age as well. It was an important time for me to make the right step. So of course I had other interest elsewhere but it wasn’t necessarily the right thing for me in terms of my own career. So in that sense, that side of it was a no-brainer.

“I spoke with Ange on the phone and he really explained the style of play to me and where I fit into the system – being one of the 8s who can hopefully create etc. From game 1 hopefully that’s been easy to see, that I fit in quite well.

Everything is falling into place for Celtic as Ange’s class shines through again

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Everything is falling into place for Celtic as Ange’s class shines through again
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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)
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“Yes, I’m just someone who likes to play good football, and here’s the perfect place to do that.”

Matt O’Riley already looking like one of Ange Postecoglou’s biggest Celtic signings

It’s incredible to think that Matt has only actually played 5 games for the club. Hearts, Dundee United, Rangers, Motherwell, and Aberdeen make up his list of Hoops appearances. 3 of those games away from home too. Not bad going considering he’s been thrown right in at the deep end.

Even this early on, and we’re wary not to be too premature about it, but already he looks like being one of Ange’s biggest Celtic signings of the season.

What’s most impressive about O’Riley is his versatility in the middle of the park. Ange clearly has a vision for him as a number 8, and it’s easy to see why. There isn’t an element to Matt’s game that comes across as a glaring weakness.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

He’s proven to be a goalscoring threat and could easily have had more than the 1 to his name so far. He’s also clearly an assist machine with 3 marked down so far and all at different venues.

O’Riley has been the signing we didn’t realise we needed. And you can bet there are plenty amongst the Celtic support thankful our move for Riley McGree fell though. Matt is showing some early signs of becoming a top Parkhead star in the long-term.

Hopefully, that’s a future he realises. At the moment, he’s certainly making a big impression in our title push.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou could be about to pull off his biggest Celtic trick yet as UECL kicks off