The arrival of Matthew Sean O‘Riley (surely, nominative determinism at work), our fifth signing of the window, looks like another incredible bit of business by Celtic. Like Moussa Dembele, he signed senior forms with Fulham as a 16-year-old. Whereas Moussa experienced regular first team football in his third season there, Matt found opportunities rare, so declined a three year contract in 2020 and left the club.
That contract offered the then 19-year-old financial security. Instead, he went looking for first team football elsewhere and was without a club for six months. He spent the time training with MK Dons, whom he eventually joined in January last year.
This is a remarkable example of singlemindedness, I cannot recall anyone else in the game going without money in the hope that they better their long-term prospects. At the time he would have been asked, “What if you get injured?” It was a risk that had a significant probability of not paying off.
I love this attitude. Matt will enjoy life at Celtic, but be clear, he is here because we have made him a career enhancing offer – not a career ceiling. Like so many before him, he will want it all in the EPL one day, which is actually a good thing.
MK Dons fans and EFL analysis rave about his abilities. He has been a star there and was destined to go higher soon. Dons confirmed we relieved them of his services due to a buy-out clause (I expect the same is true of this month’s Japanese imports), reportedly £1.5m.
Michael Nicholson is playing a blinder in his first transfer window.