MATT O’RILEY attempted to relive “probably the most enjoyable moment on a football pitch” after his exquisite finish to claim a 2-1 victory against Motherwell at Fir Park.

The stylish Celtic midfielder completed one of the team’s greatest all-time grand finales when he materialised at the back post to sidefoot a superb Greg Taylor cross beyond the open-mouthed Liam Kelly.

It was the seventh minute of stoppage time and the clock was ticking with the champions about to shed two precious points in an encounter that produced three goals in an extraordinary 10 minutes.

HEAVENS ABOVE…new Bhoy Luis Palma looks skywards after scoring his first Celtic goal in the tense finale againt Motherwell at Fir Park. 

New Bhoy Luis Palma thought he had netted the clincher when he broke the Well barrier with an arcing ball from the left that swept into the net with the home defence undone at last in the 87th minute.

However, victory celebrations were put on hold five minutes into added-on time when Blair Spittal equalised with a low drive that left Scott Bain stranded.

The visitors refused to allow their heads to go down and, following a freeflowing move that shuttled the ball from one side of the pitch to another, Nat Phillips rolled a pass in front of Taylor on the left.

The full-back curled a cross into the danger zone and O’Riley, who had signed a new four-year contract in the morning, capped a memorable day by nonchalantly knocking the deciding goal into the inviting net.

The Londoner, a bargain £1.5million purchase from third-tier MK Dons in January 2022, said: “First and foremost, I’m really delighted to sign my new deal and to take that momentum into the game and have a moment like that.

“It’s probably the most enjoyable moment for me on a football pitch.

“Not much was going through my head, but I tried to think back and it just happened in a moment.

GRANDSTAND FINISH…Matt O’Riley knocks the winner past stranded Well keeper Liam Kelly.

“I managed to stay calm which was nice and it was nice just to drift in towards the fans after I scored and the scenes speak for themselves.

“I’ve been involved in games where we have scored late, but that was really late and it was a really important win for us to keep the momentum going into the Lazio game and it puts us in a good place.”

O’Riley, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “I asked the referee how long was left and he said two minutes, which is enough time to generate another chance which is what we did.

“If you keep probing then you do score and we always have that belief.

“We’ve scored enough late goals in my time at the club and that comes from a real clarity in what we’re doing and a togetherness and, fortunately, it came off.

“Right now, I will let it sink in and focus on my recovery and take it into the next game.

“The game is done now, I will enjoy it for now and then let it go and focus on the next one.”


Click Here for Comments >

About Author