CELTIC have fended off a last-gasp hijack attempt by West Brom in their £1.5million move for MK Dons midfielder Matt O’Riley.

The Hoops hope to unveil the 21-year-old London-born ace as their fifth signing of the January transfer window within the next 24 hours, despite the bid by the Championship side to lure the former Fulham prospect to the Midlands.

However, there will be no repeat of last week’s situation when Middlesbrough made an eleventh hour swoop to derail to move for Australia international midfield man Riley O’Gree when he was expected to switch to Parkhead.

The 23-year-old Charlotte FC player joined the Riverside club and brought a stinging rebuke from Ange Postecoglou. Asked if McGree’s decision was purely down to cash incentives, the Hoops boss answered: “I don’t know, mate. To be honest, I don’t care.”

THE LIFE OF O’RILEY…MK Dons midfielder Matt O’Riley is poised for Celtic.

On this occasion, the Greek-Australian gaffer has had a personal chat with O’Riley to outline his plans for Celtic and there will be no hitches with the transfer anticipated to go smoothly.

The highly-rated middle-of-the-park performer, who was also wanted by Blackburn Rovers and Swansea, travelled north for a medical yesterday and the players’ representatives are expected in Glasgow today to finalise personal terms on a four-and-a-half year deal, according to a report in the Daily Record.

O’Riley, who has seven goals and five assists this season, was also on the radar of a number of European clubs, including Italian outfit Venezia and Belgium giants Anderlecht.

The player, who is also eligible to represent Denmark and Norway, came through the youth ranks at Craven Cottage before joining MK Dons in January last year.

O’Riley will follow Japanese trio Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi, who all made their debuts in the 2-0 win over Hibs this week, and teenage Irish strtiker Johnny Kenny as the Hoops boss continues to further strengthen his squad.

Postecoglou aims to get the signing sealed and delivered before Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off in the Scottish Cup opener at Alloa.

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