Matt O’Riley – “We just have to make sure that we have the next one in line,” John Kennedy

John Kennedy gave the manager a break from having to answer questions in the lead up to this afternoon’s clash with Hearts and was asked about various things involving Celtic.

One of the areas to curiosity for the media was the upcoming transfer window and rumours that the club could be set to shift out a raft of players who either haven’t made he grade whatsoever or those that need a loan spell for their own development.

Gustaf Lagerbielke, who came off the bench to head in a dramatic injury-time winner for the Hoops against Feyenoord in the Champions League last Wednesday night, is reportedly being offered up for transfer by the club, despite only signing a matter of months ago.

The Celtic Star has already reported on this revelation which came from reliable source, Stephen McGowan, of the Scottish Daily Mail – who is usually on the money with these things.

On the subject of departures, the assistant manager was prompted on the possibility of the much improved Matt O’Riley being tracked by clubs in bigger leagues in Europe ahead of the winter transfer window opening in January.

O’Riley, 22, who earned his first cap for Denmark this year and has been the standout player for his club, was the subject of interest in the summer transfer window from Leeds United, who offered a derisory £10 million and was rejected out of hand by the Parkhead powerbrokers.

There’s no denying that if Matty keeps on producing the goods like he did against Feyenoord the other night, it will only be a matter of time before the vultures start circling and Celtic will have to bring themselves to the negotiating table.

On the idea of losing the Danish international, Kennedy said that the club need to emsure they have the next one lined up and ready to fire on if and when that time comes. “Yeah, it is,” he said. “The model, we know, ultimately, when the big fish come, they come up with the money, then the players might have ambitions to go on and play in bigger leagues. We accept that. But it’s just having a steady flow.

“So Matty’s come in the past couple of years, he’s progressed really well and, when they are attracting attention, it’s because things are going in the right direction. That’s the nature of it. Again, we just have to make sure that, behind that, we have the next one in line. We keep bringing them through and everyone looks to a Matt, or players in the past. Jota last year, Kieran Tierney, Kris Ajer, Odsonne Edouard. All of these guys who have gone onto some of the bigger leagues. But it’s a good inspiration.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 06: Matt O’Riley of Celtic score’s his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Hibernian FC at Celtic Park Stadium on December 06, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Kennedy added: “Not everyone’s ambition is to do that. You get someone like Callum McGregor who will have had plenty of opportunities in his career to do so, but enjoys being here and now captains the club.

“You also have to accept some people’s ambitions and we do that. But, while they are here, we give our all to them in terms of what we can do for them and we expect the same on the other side that they put their work in every day to be the best versions of themselves.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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