Three talking points from Celtic’s win over Buckie Thistle

Celtic beat Highland League outfit Buckie Thistle 5-0 in yesterday’s Scottish Cup fourth round in challenging conditions at Celtic Park, a win which sees us advance to play St Mirren in the next round. That fixture unsurprisingly sees us play away, while our city rivals enjoy a cushy home match against Championship strugglers Ayr United. Surprised? No. Neither am I.

 Odin Holm scores his team’s second goal during the the Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on January 21, 2024  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Anyway, the performance against Buckie Thistle is one we won’t get too excited about due to the vast gulf in class between the sides, although I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed having Celtic back in action and I thought we put a fine display in to reward the hardy souls who turned up at Celtic Park in horrendous conditions.

1. Matt O’Riley is on a different level at times

Right, before I start I know it was Buckie Thistle we were playing, but Matt O’Riley was fantastic today. Honestly he seems to just be constantly finding higher levels this season. The through ball for Bernardo for the opener, the close touch and pass to put Holm in for the second and the ball into Abada who then set up Kyogo for the third were all magnificent from the Danish international.

He’s an absolute joy to watch, the type of player Celtic fans love and we really should do everything in our power to hold onto him as long as possible. His value is only going to go up, and with an already healthy bank balance we should be in no rush to cash in on him. Whenever he does leave (hopefully in a few years time) Celtic shouldn’t even entertain bids under £30m.

2. Having Abada back fully fit is a major positive

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Having returned from injury around a month ago, and now with a good ‘mini pre-season’ behind him during January, we are seeing Liel Abada back to his best. The Israeli looked really lively today. We have certainly missed him, but I think Kyogo may have missed him even more than we have. He has a fantastic ability to cut in and get dangerous balls across the face of the goal, and our Japanese striker absolutely loves getting on the end of those chances.

We saw how effective Abada can be during his time under the tutelage of Ange Postecoglou, but I think he can actually improve further under Brendan Rodgers, a manager known to get the best out of his wingers. You just know Abada is the type of player the Carnlough man loves to work with, a player capable of constantly providing both goals and assists from the wings.

 Daniel Kelly of Celtic vies with Stuart Knight of Buckie Thistl during the the Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on January 21, 2024 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Also I think Abada has put to bed any suggestion (mainly by the Scottish mainstream media may I add) that he no longer wants to play for Celtic due to pressure from back home. He looked more than happy to be playing in the hoops to me and put in a good shift, constantly looking the ball and trying to get involved. Hopefully he knows the Celtic fans are fully behind him, and will remain so, as long as he continues to give his all for the club.

3. Could the rumours about Rocco Vata staying at Celtic be true?

Stuart Knight of Buckie Thistle saves from Rocco Vata of Celtic during the the Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on January 21, 2024 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The first thing my eye was drawn to when the team line up was announced was the fact that little seen, yet much discussed, Rocco Vata was on the bench today. I found that really interesting especially with rumours recently changing from him departing this month to Italy, to whispers that he could end up extending his stay at Celtic.

With him getting nowhere near any game time with the first team squad in the first half of the season I thought it looked like his time was up in Glasgow. So I was more than interested seeing his name today and wondering if he would get some minutes on the pitch.

The Irish youngster was introduced in the 64th minute so got nearly half an hour to impress the manager. Scoring just over ten minutes later will certainly have peaked Rodgers interest. He seemed lively during his cameo and could have probably got more goals if he had of been a bit sharper but he certainly did himself no harm if he is looking to stay at the club.

 Rocco Vata of Celtic celebrates after he scores his team’s fifth goal during the the Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on January 21, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It has been interesting to read Rodgers comments about him post match, and it will be even more interesting to see if Rocco takes his managers advice and signs a new contract and commits himself to the club. I think Rodgers was spot on when he said there would be no guarantee of game time in the foreseeable future but that if he knuckles down there certainly should be a promising future on the horizon for him at the club.

Will he and his advisors listen to Rodgers or think his future in the game will be better served moving somewhere else? Only time will tell but it would certainly show the young man’s character if he decides to stay and fight to become a first team regular.

Conall McGinty


About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

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