MATT O’RILEY almost uprooted the net and goalposts with his pulverising piledriver that left Ross County keeper Ross Laidlaw motionless as he sealed Celtic’s opening-day 4-2 triumph.

It was an emphatic finish from the midfield mastermind’s so-called weaker foot and was one of the highlights as Brendan Rodgers’ men got their bid for a twelfth title in 13 years underway.

However, the classy playmaker admitted he almost didn’t take the shot as he looked to pass inside to team-mate Daizen Maeda.

Three minutes before the interval, O’Riley had mesmerised the Dingwall defenders as he teased and tricked his way to the bye-line on the left before deftly lifting the ball to the back post for David Turnbull to hit his second and the Hoops’ third goal as they got into their stride after a wobbly start.

MATT FINISH…Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley leaves keeper Ross Laidlaw standing with his powerful drive for No.4.

The London-born former Danish Under-21 international star said: “I wanted to pass it to Daizen because there is something in my DNA which says pass before shoot, which I might need to stop some time.

“I took a long time to take the shot, I saw Daizen wasn’t free and just swung my right foot.

“There are probably times when I need to be a bit more selfish, just for the sake of the team and not for my own sense of self. I think there are times when I genuinely should shoot to help the team rather than think about myself.

“Naturally, I get quite a lot of pleasure from seeing my team-mates do well. I probably enjoyed the dribble and chip for David’s goal more than I did my own.

“To help someone else also get a bit of joy is quite nice.”

THAT’S MY BHOY…Matt O’Riley is congratulated by Liel Abada after his wonder strike.

Asked if it is just a personal need to change or a talk with the boss, O’Riley replied: “Probably a bit of both.

“I spoke with Gavin Strachan, especially, and he said to me I need to be a bit more selfish sometimes. Like I said, for the goal that I scored, I actually did want to pass and that would have been a terrible decision!”

Turnbull, with his first start since November, won the sponsors’ Man of the Match plaudits, but O’Riley and Kyogo Furuhashi, who added the other strike, were strong contenders for the award.

The Scotland international midfielder, a bit-part player under Ange Postecoglou in the previous campaign, got the nod from the returning Rodgers ahead of fans’ favourite Reo Natate to line up at kick-off.

It underlined that no-one can expect to be an automatic first pick for the Irishman and O’Riley, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I am not going to take it for granted, either, because I know it’s just one game.

“If you get comfortable that’s when things creep up on you.

“For me, it’s all about trying to improve. There were things I could have done better, but it was pretty good. A slightly different role for me. I’m a little bit more involved in build-up deeper with a licence to go forward.

FOUR-MIDABLE…Matt O’Riley prepares to get the high fives from his team-mates.

“It’s probably my favourite position and probably where I am most effective and can help the team most, so I am grateful to be able to show that. Personally, I thrive a bit more when I am coming on to the game.

“I am not saying I can’t play the higher role well, but when I can see the play happen, I can make runs off of other people’s movements and that’s probably where I’m best.

“I also like defensively going back to help as well. I think that is something I have improved since I have been at the club. Playing in Callum’s role last season probably improved me as an all-round player and, physically, I am also in a better place than I was last season.

“There’s still a long way to go, but things are starting to come together.”

Kyogo, last season’s top scorer with 34 goals, took on a slightly different role in the team as he dropped deeper to get more involved in play outside the box.

He set up a superb chance for Turnbull in the first-half which the comeback Bhoy should have stuck away. Normally so composed inn these one v one situations, the Scot was careless with his finish effort and practically hit the keeper and the chance was gone.

SKY’S THE LIMIT…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his first goal of the campaign.

However, the Japanese international hitman had better fortune as he caressed a pass from Cameron Carter-Vickers into O’Riley’s path for his team-mate to thrash past Laidlaw for No.4.

The middle-of-the-park operator added: “It’s an adaptation to our game. Sometimes him dropping deeper allows me and the higher midfielder and wingers to run in a little bit.

“It causes teams problems and you saw it happen in the first-half when David got in, as well.

“It just adds a different element to our game. I think it’s good.”

So, to, do the Celtic supporters who left the ground after watching the champions dodge what could have been a banana skin.

Other much-vaunted teams weren’t so lucky on Saturday.

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