Matt O’Riley happy to brush off cobwebs with Celtic opener ahead of new season

The 21-year-old midfielder was given the first 45 minutes of the friendly in the Allianz Stadion in Austria and he opened the scoring.

By Press Association Published: 10 July 2022 - 9.43am

Celtic’s Matt O’Riley was happy to brush off the cobwebs in Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Rapid Vienna as he prepares for a new campaign.

The 21-year-old midfielder was given the first 45 minutes of the friendly in the Allianz Stadion in Austria and he opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a strike from the edge of the box.

In a competitive encounter, Bernhard Zimmermann capitalised on a Celtic defensive mistake to knock in the equaliser.

O’Riley was one of 10 changes made by boss Ange Postecoglou at the break and the goals kept coming in the second half.

Midfielder David Turnbull finished a Kyogo Furuhashi cross in the 56th minute but Rene Kriwak soon had the scores level again.

Turnbull set up Furuhashi to score a third in the 56th minute but with the last action of the game Emmanuel Aiwu headed in a corner.

The Denmark Under-21 player told CelticTV that, “it is always nice to score” as he analysed the workout.

He said: “It was good. It was nice to be back playing.

“There was a few cobwebs that I needed to brush off, of course, the same as everyone else.

“But I felt good overall. It took me 10 or 15 minutes to get going, to be honest, but after that I felt good.

“That was the first game, you can’t expect too much more.

“I thought there were some good bits, a lot of stuff to improve on definitely.

“We were sloppy at times but like I said, it was the first game.”

Postecoglou said the physicality of the match was “exactly” what Celtic needed as they geared up to defend their cinch Premiership title with a tilt at the Champions League also on the horizon and O’Riley concurred.

He said: “It was the perfect test for what we needed.

“They were a good side and it was a good atmosphere for a pre-season game which was nice and yes, the physicality was what we needed going into the Scottish league where we are going to expect teams to try to stop us in different ways, whether it be kicking us or whatever it will be.

“So it was perfect for that and hopefully we can build on that, get more minutes for everyone and see how we go.”

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