MATT O’RILEY looked the most relieved man at Parkhead last night following Celtic’s 5-1 Scottish Cup victory over St Mirren.
The smooth midfield playmaker has been firing blanks all season – until the last minute of regulation time with the Hoops 3-1 ahead and coasting into tomorrow night’s quarter-final draw at Hampden.
O’Riley’s last goal for the champions had come in a 4-1 league win over Hearts in Glasgow on May 7 with Ange Postecoglou’s side heading for a remarkable title win.
THE SIGNS ARE GOOD…Matt O’Riley celebrates his first Celtic strike of the season.
However, the misfiring misery came to an end against the Paisley side when the Danish Under-21 international curled a superb left-foot effort high past the grasping fingers of keeper Trevor Carson.
O’Riley, a 63rd-minute substitute for David Turnbull, joked: “It’s been a long time coming. I think I’ve had about 365 shots, so it was good to see one go in!
“I’m just happy whenever I get on the pitch. I always try to contribute and I did on this occasion.
“Our strength in depth was evident, but it shows most weeks. Everyone wants to play at a really high level.
“As long as we’re all helping out, there’s no need for frustration. The team is winning and we’re in a good place.”
JOY BHOYS…Matt O’Riley and Oh Hyeon-gyu congratulate Reo Hatate on his goal for No.5 against St Mirren.
O’Riley, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, added: “I’ve got an edge coming on. Aaron Mooy has been in great form, but all four No 8s are playing well. There’s a competitiveness in training and that makes us better.
“When I arrived, I had the same thing with Tom Rogic. I was grateful every time I got the chance. Of course, I’d like to start every game, but I understand the manager’s choice comes first.
“I just try to contribute whenever I get the chance.”