Matt O'Riley's comments demonstrate Celtic's elite mentality under Postecoglou

By Dave Flanigan

November 13, 2022

Given their sublime form between the September international break and the final Scottish Premiership fixture before the World Cup, few would begrudge Celtic’s players basking in their domestic dominance after yet another win yesterday over Ross County.

The Celtic players took in the adulation of the adoring home support for the last time until the 21st of December when they return to play Livingston, but anyone thinking that the squad would be fully content with their work so far this season might be a bit alien to how Celtic’s mindset has changed under Ange Postecoglou.

This was demonstrated by Matt O’Riley’s post-match comments, where effectively unprompted, he mentioned a match that remains a sore spot for his side.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Speaking to Celtic TV, O’Riley said: “We’re in a good place, I think we’re still biting ourselves a bit from that St Mirren loss, so that was a little wake-up call but I think since then we’ve been pretty ruthless in terms of our approach and we’ll try and continue that when we come back”

Despite being nine points clear, winning 14 of 15 league fixtures so far, being in the League Cup semi-final, the fact that the Paisley defeat – their first in the league in one day short of a whole year – still weighs heavy on the minds of the Celtic players is testament to the elite mentality that Postecoglou has imbued into this team.

O’Riley himself has had to adapt his game just in this last month, altering his advanced role in Celtic’s midfield to deputise for the injured Callum McGregor, and despite the fit seeming an awkward one at first given their varying skillsets, Celtic have managed to win every domestic game in their captain’s absence.

Shorn of their best player, with games every four days, and facing added adversity from shambolic VAR usage in almost every game since its introduction in mid-October, lesser players and squads would buckle under the pressure, but not Postecoglou’s Celtic.

O’Riley also touched on the refereeing decisions in his post-match, stating “We have had some strange decisions go against us, but they still can’t stop us, so that’s alright.”

It isn’t just VAR that has been unable to stop Celtic, the Scottish champions have conceded equalisers after the 85th minute twice in the space of a month and still emerged victorious in both of those games, against St Johnstone in Perth, and Dundee United in Paradise last weekend.

Postecoglou said of O’Riley and his midfield partner Reo Hatate yesterday that both have “refused to yield” despite the demands on them in McGregor’s absence, and in truth that could extend to this entire Celtic squad. However late an opposition team scores against them, however many poor VAR decisions go against them, no matter how many roadblocks are put in their way, they simply refuse to give in.

Celtic are in a good place, and if they continue their trajectory under Postecoglou, they’re going to get even better.

In other news: Farcical Postecoglou Everton links should be of little concern to Celtic