Celtic’s main man this season, Matt O’Riley, attributes his impressive form this season to a renewed approach to football, one that embraces the carefree spirit of his youth.

Matt O'Riley
3rd December 2023; McDiarmid Park, Perth, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, St Johnstone versus Celtic; Matt ORiley of Celtic celebrates after he scores to make it 2-1 to Celtic in the 79th minute

Under the guidance of manager Brendan Rodgers, O’Riley has been a standout performer, with his latest spectacular goal against St Johnstone highlighting his growing influence in the team.

He’s got twelve goals and assists to his name so far this season, with the majority of them goals.

The 23-year-old has adopted a more playful, instinctive style of play, reminiscent of his early teenage years. He’s putting less pressure on himself, and playing freely on the pitch.

This shift in mindset has not only enhanced his performance but also added a dynamic edge to his game.

He said: [Record Sport]

“People tend to put more pressure on you as you get older in life, for some reason. That’s just how it goes. When you are a kid of 14 or 15, you play very freely. That’s how I’m trying to play at the moment – to bring that side of young, childish playfulness into my game.

“Maybe last season I wouldn’t have even thought to swing my right foot at that. Now it’s just a case of being more free on the pitch which is nice.

“I was probably overthinking things more, up until I was 17, 18, 19 years old. I think it was all done with good intentions, it was about standards and hard work, trying to get better from a young age. I was always dreaming from a young age. It’s not that the dreams have stopped but it’s about taking things as they come rather than overthinking things that are out of my control.”

The player, who signed a new deal with the Hoops after the summer transfer window slammed shut, has had many clubs watching him, from England and further afield.


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