After A Brief Stutter, Matt O’Riley Is Back As One Of Celtic’s Most Formidable Players.

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Every player who signs for a new club will struggle at some point.

Even if the player in question is an unqualified success overall, there will be spells lasting weeks where he seems less than what he’s otherwise seemed to be. Even Kyogo had his dip in form.

We’ve seen nearly every player in this squad go through a spell where they didn’t look like they were hitting the heights we know they are capable of. Perseverance, hard graft and self-belief are what gets players through those spells, and that’s why we are seeing Matt O’Riley really start to assert himself as a footballer again.

I thought he was excellent last weekend, in what was always going to be a blood and thunder, do or die match against the club from Ibrox. But he stepped it up again yesterday in his performance against Kilmarnock, capped by his double.

We’re starting to see again the guy who some predicted would go on to be the most lucrative sale in our history. That’s how good he is capable of being … and the drift in his form never once made me question that, and nor I think did anyone else, and certainly nobody inside Celtic thought for a minute that we’d bought less than he first seemed.

Players who want to go from being good to great will have spells where they’ll dip in form. But greatness comes from those who endure those spells with good humour and hard work.

They don’t spit the dummy. They don’t get disillusioned. They don’t start banging the manager’s door for more games or for a move away … this guy has shown he’s a pro.

I love the fact that he’s getting his head up again and that he’s grabbed the opportunity with Hatate out of the team.

He has done the hard graft and he’s getting his rewards on the pitch now. When Reo is back in the side the competition for places will be fiercer than ever … but what we’ve seen is that competition spurs this side on.

Competition makes this team better.

We are starting to see the signs that it has made O’Riley better.

We will see more of them in the weeks to come, I have no doubt of it.

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  • Johnny Green says:

    One swallow does not make a Summer, and O’Riley’s bad spell has been anything but brief.

    • Hugh Reilly says:

      Spot on. Playing a blinder and scoring 2 goals against team with worst goal difference in the league doesn’t mean he’s suddenly a great player again. The “we never stop” slogan looked hollow when the entire team stopped playing after 30mins. O’Riley might be one of those leaving in summer given the better options Ange has in midfield. His sale fee will be interesting.

  • Johnno says:

    I think many can overlook the mental toughness and the inconsistency factor that comes with a young player learning his trade still.
    Many forget just how much was expected from him during the CL campaign when having to fill in for Calmac in such a demanding position in how Ange sets this celtic team up.
    Even though I thought he done very well the inexperience was still there.
    Takes the really good players to be able to take set backs in there careers with great determination and self belief to be able to come through those periods, especially when the demands are so high at our club still.
    Was delighted for O’Reily yesterday and just the right time of the season for his return to form for ourselves with the run in.
    Still has a very big part to play for us in the remainder of the season and confident enough he will contribute hugely like yesterday

  • Stevie Bhoy says:

    Hatate’s absence has shown that we have signed a real player in Iwata also
    I thought he was excellent yesterday

  • SSMPM says:

    I’ve got to say I thought O’Riley looked as good as he has for some time but having Kobayashi and Iwata in from the start was really refreshing too. I hope they’re both going to be a big part of our immediate future as I think it gives great options for the current structure but to enable changes to it also.
    I’m already looking to next season with anticipation. A bit of tinkering may work well particularly in the CL group stage, aye one club in Scotland will be there, even if we are to lose a few players in the summer. Moving to 3 CBs with CCV playing middle could work well in the PL but 3 can easily become 5 in the CL and with Callum and Iwata in the middle that looks a really solid foundation to build on.
    I think we will lose a few players in the summer possibly as many as 4 but with some more of Ange’s pearls of wisdom and the current depth we’ll be just fine. Champions HH

  • SSMPM says:

    Learn to read Spam, “Looked as good as he has for some time”. That means he hasn’t looked good for some time prior or as you put it “after a red rotten few months. Who said Haksa’s not one of the options, “and with the current depth we’ll be just fine”, particularly if Hatate and/or Maeda and/or Abada transfer out. Save your oppositional disorder for your hun m8s.

  • Darren Kerr says:

    Iwata was a Rolls Royce on Sunday and Kobayashi is smooth, both have a great temperament and football brain. O’Reilly certainly was good for a few passages of play and a couple of tidy finishes but other than that was only ok. I really hope he has the ability to push on and develop further as he is still just a youngster in footballing terms but I feel he is limited in so many departments. I hope I’m proven wrong.

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