'Playing for a club like Celtic is pretty cool' - the surreal experience for one title winner

The “surreal” journey Matt O’Riley has gone to land the championship with Celtic has left him pinching himself about the vicissitudes of football.

Celtic's: Matt O'Riley (left), Jota and Carl Starfelt celebrate clinching the league at Tannadice on Wednesday night. The 21-year-old  maintains the camaradrie between an entire squad that are all friends has been reflected in their Premiership winning performances. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's: Matt O'Riley (left), Jota and Carl Starfelt celebrate clinching the league at Tannadice on Wednesday night. The 21-year-old maintains the camaradrie between an entire squad that are all friends has been reflected in their Premiership winning performances. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The 21-year-old has hardly had the opportunity to draw breath after being plucked from MK Fons in a £1.5million deal in mid-January. And for the Londoner, his whirlwind route to a first major honour is simply “cool”. “Life has changed pretty quick,” O’Riley said. “In four months I’ve gone from playing in League One to winning the title here. I didn’t have any doubts, to be honest. I wasn’t expecting to come to Celtic. I thought I was going to go somewhere else so when that chance came I jumped at it. Since then it’s been a pretty surreal experience. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”

And his every moment as a Celtic player has vindicated his decision to drop down to England’s third tier after refusing a contract with Fulham two summers ago, he believes. “Every night I think playing for this club is good enough for me,” the attacker said. “Whether we’re winning the title or it’s a standard Premiership game, they are all the same for me. Playing for a club like Celtic is pretty cool. Anyone who believes in themselves, if the people around you do, you can get where you want to be.”

Hide Ad

O’Riley is in that position now because he is part of a dressing room of many nationalities that have become a “unique” band of brothers. ‘We’re just mates at the end of the day,” he said. “In all of the best teams you need to have that relationship with each other. You have too be good friends as well and that translates onto the pitch. I don’t think there’s one player who doesn’t get on with anyone else, which is quite unique I think. That’s down to recruitment as well – bringing in not only good players but good people. It takes the tension away. If you have a lot of ego in the team then sometimes that translates on the pitch. We are genuinely in it as one – on the pitch and off the pitch – even the ones who aren’t in the squad. It’s a collective effort. I think it really shows.”

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.