MATT O’RILEY ignored recent transfer speculation to focus on Celtic’s Champions League challenge after the money-spinning ballot in Monaco yesterday.
The Hoops have been paired with former Euro foes Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio and the stylish midfielder is relishing the opportunity of pitting his wits among the game’s elite.
O’Riley, a £1.5million bargain buy from English third-tier outfit MK Dons in January 2022, enjoyed his first taste of football at the highest level when the team were drawn against Real Madrid, then the trophy holders, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Parkhead men failed to win any of their group games – drawing home and away with the Ukrainian champions – but the London-born former Danish Under-21 playmaker thrived in the cut-and-thrust of these glamorous occasions.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Matt O’Riley is congratulated by Liel Abada after scoring Celtic’s final goal in the 4-2 win over Ross County at Parkhead last month.
O’Riley expects Brendan Rodgers’ side to make an impact this time around and, speaking to Celtic TV, admitted: “I’m pretty happy with the draw although I would have been happy with any draw.
“We always fancy our chances going into any game. I’ve said it before, it’s a game of football and anything can happen and we back ourselves.
“The atmosphere at Celtic Park is always guaranteed and, hopefully, it can put some fear into our opponents, as well, and it should be good.”
The Champions League is scheduled to kick off in the midweek of September 19/20.
The dates and venues for opponents are likely to be announced within the next 24 hours.