GORDON STRACHAN believes Matt O’Riley possesses “a rare gift” as the playmaker continues to impress the former Celtic boss.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been outstanding this season and has added goalscoring – six so far – to his other attributes.

Strachan, an astute passer of the ball during his playing days at Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Scotland, has viewed many praiseworthy qualities in the London-born performer who was brought into the full international squad by his adopted nation Denmark last month.

The 66-year-old ex-gaffer, who won a hat-trick of titles at the Hoops, said: “Matt O’Riley has been outstanding. He joined from MK Dons after coming through the ranks of Fulham and, when he first joined, he looked like a good player.

THAT’S MY BHOY…skipper Callum McGregor congratulates Matt O’Riley after his goal in the 3-0 win at Livingston. Liam Scales joins in the celebrations.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds and some of his passes have been phenomenal. He has the ability that all the top players have of remaining composed on the ball.

“Matt isn’t flustered in possession and isn’t influenced by a crowd screaming at him.

“He’s got that ability to take a ball, shield it and play the right pass every single time. It’s a rare gift that only the real top players like your Modrics or your Iniestas have.”

Odin Holm, signed for £2.25million from Valerenga in the summer, has also caught the eye of Strachan.

The 20-year-old Norwegian, who replaced O’Riley against Atlletico Madrid at half-time on Tuesday, had a Champions League debut to forget when he was ordered off only 11 minutes after coming on for Reo Hatate against Feyenoord in Rotterdam in September.

RISE AND SHINE…Odin Holm takes to the air to win a tussle against a Kilmarnock opponent.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were already down to 10 men after Gustaf Lagerbielke’s dismissal when the youngster launched into a tackle.

The referee immediately banished Holm as the visitors eventually lost 2-0 in their opening match in Group E.

Strachan, in a report in the Daily Record, added: “I thought that red card was a character-building moment for Holm.

“There is only one way to react to getting sent off in an important match of football. I thought he was really unfortunate.

“The best thing for Holm is what he’s learning on the training ground. Nothing improves players better than playing and working with top players on the training ground.

“All he needs to do is watch the likes of Hatate, O’Riley, McGregor and Turnbull.

“Watch their approach to training; their professionalism and work-rate and he won’t go wrong.”

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