MATT O’RILEY fired blanks in the 5-0 Scottish Cup rout of Buckie Thistle at wet and windy Parkhead last night.

The stylish Celtic playmaker may have missed out on adding to his impressive 10-goal tally, but it didn’t prevent him having a massive say in how the holders overcame gallant Highland opposition to book a place in the next round at St Mirren.

And O’Riley’s overall performance rightly earned him the Man of the Match accolade after the player had put on a masterclass, despite the atrocious conditions.

CUP, UP AND AWAY…Paulo Bernardo clips the ball high into the net past helpless Buckie Thistle keeper Stuart Knight to start the five-goal romp at Parkhead.

It was a scoreless stalemate until the 25th minute before the Denmark international slipped a perfect pass into the tracks of middle-of-the-park sidekick Paulo Bernardo and the on-loan Portuguese ace clipped the ball lover the head of the stranded Stuart Knight for the breakthrough strike.

Eight minutes later, O’Riley played a one-two with Odin Holm to set up the Norwegian for the second goal and also his first for the Hoops.

And, as the interval approached, it was the London-born performer who sent Liel Abada clear on the right for the little Israeli to set up Kyogo Furuhashi for No.3 and the Japanese hitman’s eleventh strike of the campaign.

Luis Palma and Rocco Vata, with his debut goal for the club, added others after the turnaround to bring down the curtain on a satisfying return to action after the winter break.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Matt O’Riley, Odin Holm and Paulo Bernardo congratulate Luis Palma after the Honduran ace had sizzled in a fourth goal against the Highlanders.

A smiling O’Riley said: “It was about a good mentality going into the game and setting the tone right from the start.

“We got three goals in the first-half and it probably should have been more, but it was pretty good overall.

“We knew it was going to be a low block and similar to other teams in the league in that sense – we come up against that a lot so we know how to find the solutions.

“It was tough to break them down when they play with 11 men on the edge of the box and there’s not much space.”

O’Riley, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “I tried to take the best decisions for the team and create chances, that’s my job.

“Match fitness isn’t the same as training and this was a good chance to do that in tough conditions and on a heavy pitch, so it will be good for the body.”


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