Celtic v Dundee – Maybe tonight Matt O’Riley should get a well earned rest

Maybe it’s time to rest Matt?..

It’s been pretty obvious to everyone that Matt O’Riley hasn’t been showing the form that he produced in the first half of the campaign. Perhaps it was the interest from Atletico Madrid in the January window – and full details on that appeared earlier today on The Celtic Star – that has unsettled him, somewhat?

Under Brendan Rodgers Matt O’Riley has upped his game to a new level as he added goals to his game while chipping in with his usual assists and was undoubtedly our most productive and consistent player. His form was that good that he was tipped as a Player of the Year favourite.

But that superb form has dipped since returning from the winter break, and he’s looked a shadow of the player he was for the first half of the season. He was of course the subject of that £18m bid from Atletico Madrid late on in the transfer window, and it’s widely accepted that it’s had an effect on him, hence his poor form.

It’s only natural that he would have his head turned by such an offer, maybe that’s the most obvious conclusion, but could there be more to it than that? Matt has played a lot of football this season and there is a lot of expectation on his shoulders due to his fantastic form, so maybe the pressure could be affecting him just a little?

Maybe the best way to sort that would to take him out of that pressure pot by resting him and the game tonight against Dundee would be the perfect opportunity. A place on the bench would be much beneficial to Matt. It would give his legs and mind some much needed respite and make him all the better and stronger for the challenges ahead, starting at Tynecastle on Sunday.

This league title is not going to be won by playing the same eleven every week. Indeed we can expect several changes from the weekend team that started against Motherwell with Nawrocki injured meaning Carter-Vickers is likely to start and you would also expect both Idah and Yang to have done enough to merit a place on the pitch at 7.45pm this evening.

Maybe Brendan will see tonight as a chance to rest Matt O’Riley or does he seem him in the same category as Callum McGregor who is so essential to the team that he plays when he’s fit. Yet even Captain Calmac was given a rest for the match against Buckie Thistle!

Just an Ordinary Bhoy


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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. Wow, in your previous article you called for total commitment from the fans and players , and now you suggest we rest one of our best and most creative players ??? Opinions eh !. Personally i would like to see a midfield trio of Iwata O.Riley and Hatate not because of resting Calmac but because i think that trio is the best blend , small flaw in that at the moment though , so i will support the team that plays ,COYBIG .

  2. Completey Illogical..Even if Matt hasnt hit the levels of pre Xmas he is still Celtics best player even in this run of games..and if you look at the stats they confirm it..This is journalism based on emotion rather than logic. You actually think there have been 10 better players in every match? 2 secondary assists in last two games hit post and bar (of which one led to Maeda goal and highest running stats on ANY player..once you actually watch a football match and analyzing it with stats and logic you’ll realsie why dumbing down your best player is detrimental to the club the team and the supporters.. This is just sensationalism. I and other scouts know who are the players in and out of form and frankly Matt is the least of your worries…