BRENDAN RODGERS has hailed Matt O’Riley as “a joy to coach and work with” on the day the midfielder signed a new four-year deal at the champions.

The smooth 22-year-old playmaker had been at the centre of a transfer guessing game as he pondered putting pen to paper to extend his contract until 2027.

Rodgers admitted O’Riley was a wanted man in the summer market and Leeds United were prepared to pay £10million for the Londoner, as CQN reported.

Now, though, the sylish middle-of-the-park performer has committed his immediate future to the Parkhead club and Rodgers said: “We are really pleased that Matt has agreed this new contract with the club.

COME IN No.33…Matt O’Riley with his Celtic shirt.

“As we have seen from recent weeks, Matt is playing some brilliant football, developing in all areas of his game and it is a great time for him at the moment.

“I know he is the kind of player Celtic fans love and I know that, in turn, he loves it here.”

Rodgers, in a report in Celtic TV, added: “Matt has so much to his game, but always wants to learn, develop and grow further and from that perspective, together with the inherent talent he has, he really is a joy to coach and work with.

“I am delighted that he has signed his new deal and I am sure he will continue to make a massive contribution to the club going forward.”

O’Riley arrived as a virtual unknown in January 2022 in a bargain £1.5million move from MK Dons.

However, within weeks of his recruitment – and an eye-catching performance in a 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle – the Hoops supporters realised their favourites had unearthed yet another gem.

O’Riley, tipped to make the step up in the Danish senior international set-up for next month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, has been in superb form since the start of the new campaign.

He has already scored four goals this time around – one more than he managed throughout last term.

The midfield man is poised to make his 81st appearance for the Hoops at Fir Park today.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Motherwell v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN. 


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