“It’s hard not to be very happy at Celtic,” Matt O’Riley

Matt O’Riley admitted that he’s loving life at Celtic as he looks to develop his game even further under the watchful eye of new manager Brendan Rodgers, who has clearly made an immediate impact on the midfielder, as probably most of his teammates. There are so many things about being at Celtic that O’Riley marvels at, but probably one of them is the way in which the media twist something that’s been said to suit their own agenda to grab a headline.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic controls the ball during the Celtic vs St Mirren Cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park on May 20, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And in the latest instance, where O’Riley was reportedly having a dig at former manager Ange Postecoglou, there are in this instance not one but two follow-up stories where O’Riley dismisses meaning anything of the kind as reported and was merely commenting on the different man management styles between the former and current Celtic boss.

Throw into that paper talk about transfer interest in O’Riley and it’s fait to say that he’s been prominently featured in the media as we await the start of the new season. On that subject, he’s clever to know it’s just the usual rumour mongering paper talk and pays little or no attention to that.

“It’s hard not to be very happy at Celtic. Even things like being out in Asia and seeing all the fans, it’s hard not to love the club. I’ve been here 18 months now and feel a massive part of it,” Matt O’Riley stated, as reported by Scottish Sun.

Matt O’Riley during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Celtic FC and Shakhtar Donetsk,, on October 25, 2022. ) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m extremely grateful to be at this place and to have this experience. Speculation is just speculation. Being in a team that’s successful, it’s natural. Other players have it as well. It’s not something I pay much attention to, to be honest.

“I let people speculate, my job is to listen to what the new manager is saying and making sure I work hard. Is it better to get talked about than not talked about? Of course it is. I’m aware of the noise. At the same time, there can be good or bad noise — as long as I stay as neutral as possible my performances should be at a good level.”

O’Riley was also mightily impressed by the Celtic impact in Japan, a country he, like many of the non-Japanese players in the squad, were visiting for the first time and the vastly different culture and way of life there has given those players that O’Riley described as ‘tourists’ in his Celtic TV interview from Japan at the weekend, a greater appreciation of how tough it must be for the Asian players adapting to a different lifestyle in Scotland.

“It was really good. It’s still early doors fitness wise but I really enjoyed it. It’s amazing getting to see a new country. It was tricky with the games and the training but we managed to see some places and it was a great experience.

“It has been great for the Japanese boys in the team to be back in their home environment. They got recognised a lot and you realise how tough it must be for them here in Scotland as it’s so culturally different.

“It’s been cool seeing them all thrive in their own environment and country. This is all part of being at a club like Celtic. You see the likes of Man City and PSG going out there as well. We are not quite at their level yet I suppose — but we are back in the Champions League and it’s a chance for us to show ourselves again.”

On the managerial change at Celtic and his own incorrectly reported remarks, Matt O’Riley once again felt obliged to clarify what he actually said and meant. And he went on th praise Ange Postecoglou for helping to develop his game.

“I don’t think I said anything bad about the previous manager! It was maybe blown out of proportion a little bit. It’s just different managerial styles. It’s strange how people jump on it like they do, but that’s football, especially when it’s pre-season and we need something to talk about.

“Under the previous manager I got so much better as a player. So I can’t say I didn’t like him at all because in my career he’s the one I’ve learnt most from. I am very grateful to have been able to work with him.

“In terms of their styles, yeah, it’s very different. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way. Brendan had previous success here, but Ange showed when he was here he had major success as well and obviously got himself a really good move from it.

“For me, to have different styles to work with early in my career will help me.”

A new manager brings new challenges going into a new season as a reset button is pushed and changes occur with Brendan Rodgers looking to do things his way. O’Riley has no problem with that, instead it’s something that he is relishing.

“It’s a bit of a reset. It has to be for everyone with the managerial change. I wouldn’t say we have changed our principles and structure completely. But it is a reset in terms of mindset. Last season was great but it’s done now. This is a new season and that’s been instilled in us by the manager as well.

“I’m just looking to kick on. That’s the aim every year. I’m at an age now where I’m young, but I’m not that young. It’s time for me to kick on and keep progressing. I will keep sticking to my process to get better mentally, physically and technically. If I can do that I’ll be in a good place.

“The manager has mentioned how he likes to develop young players. He’s going to be beneficial to a lot of players like me, because we have a young squad. It’s nice to work with someone who encourages that side of young players.

“He’s someone you can speak to on and off the pitch. Having someone to be able to speak to when I am curious about improving things will be really helpful. We also have John Kennedy, Gavin Strachan and Harry Kewell as well.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. RPM Celticfan on

    ULYSSESGUNT , Yes me for one , i thought it was a sure thing and coundnt understand why all the talk was about big JFK and not Kewell leaving to join Ange ,