CELTIC hero Peter Grant hopes his old club make Matt O’Riley an offer he can’t refuse.
The former Hoops midfield battler is an enthusiastic admirer of the Londoner after their time together at Fulham.
Grant was in charge of youth development at the Craven Cottage club and had no hesitation in upgrading 15-year-old O’Riley to the club’s Under-18 squad, so he is not suprised at the former Danish Under-21 international’s progress at Parkhead.
The stylish middle-of-the-park performer, now 22, arrived at the champions as a virtual unknown from third-tier club MK Dons in January 2022 for a cut-price £1.5million.
DON OF A NEW ERA…Matt O’Riley acknowledges the travelling support after his midfield masterclass and crucial goal in Celtic’s 3-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month.
His valuation has soared dramatically over the period and there was interest from Italian outfit Bologna and Championship sides Leeds United and Southampton in the summer.
The Hoops, though, are working on an extended and enhanced contract for O’Riley whose present terms run until June 2026.
Captain Callum McGregor, Japanese double-act Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda plus Israeli winger Liel Abada have all signed new deals in recent times while Reo Hatate could also join them as he contemplates an improved offer.
Grant, 58, said: “It’s always massive to keep your best players and the way to do it is by bringing good players in to play alongside them.
“The attention and scrutiny you play under at Celtic is, apart from Manchester United, second to none and I keep telling him the adulation you get is very difficult to replicate.
“We know financially, other clubs can pay more down in England or elsewhere. We understand all of these things. People always want your best players, so to keep them, get good ones alongside them and be successful. They may well still want to go and that’s fine.
“Matt is thoroughly enjoying his time at Celtic and that is when you play your best. There are so many benefits. He can still get picked for the national team, you can play in the Champions League.
MAKING A POINT…Peter Grant and Jorge Cadete celebrate a Celtic goal in 1996.
“Matt has become one of the fans’ favourite players and his performances are worthy of that. He’s become a better all-round player.”
Grant, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Time may come when someone from the Premier League in England makes an offer and he thinks one day he might fancy a go at that, you never know.
“I always say enjoy them while you have them. Make them feel like a king of the castle and, if you do that and reward them for their quality and efforts as best you can afford, that’s important.
“God willing, Matt signs a new deal and he’s at Celtic for many years to come.”
Grant, a hero of Celtic’s Centenary League and Cup double-winning squad in 1988, added: “I thought last Sunday against Rangers, what he did was brilliant and contributed immensely to Celtic winning.
“So many cut-outs at the edge of his own box. Great positional play as a midfielder. Not only did he intercept, his use of the ball was then impressive when he won it back. That stood out for me.
“Never mind his quality, it was a defensive midfield masterclass. Yet I’d also watched him the week before and, having scored in the first two games of the season, he could have had another three or four against St Johnstone.
“Matt kept getting into the right positions. Then set up the goal against Rangers. So, his all-round performance is excellent. He has grown and grown and is going to just keep getting better.”