Celtic did themselves no harm against the champions of Europe last night as they kept the game competitive for large chunks and it was only the last 20 minutes when the difference in class and quality began to shine through.
Someone who certainly made an impact on the Real Madrid players and people in the stands was O’Riley who managed to register by far and away the most pressures of anyone else on the pitch and also tackled the second-most players out of anyone else (as per FBref).
Balague couldn’t hide the fact he’d been left impressed by O’Riley after he also met his parents in the terraces at Celtic Park, and after the game, he tweeted:
“Met @mattoriley8 parents last night. What lovely people! Humble and so happy to see the progress of their son. He did not look out of place at all against Madrid and will reach bigger highs for sure. Matt told me after the game there are lots to learn/improve on.”
Are you worried about O'Riley's long-term future?
TIF Thoughts on Matt O’Riley…
Having splashed out £1.5m on O’Riley last season despite the midfielder having never started a game higher than League One level in England, some may well have raised their eyebrows at the signing, however, it was just yet again, another one that Ange Postecoglou got spot on.
The Denmark international is now being linked with moves south of the border in the Premier League and those talks will surely only intensify after his display against Real Madrid for millions to see.
However, given he appears to be a trusted member of Postecoglou’s squad, O’Riley still has plenty of years left in him at just 21, so could rebuff any interest from the Premier League, especially if the Bhoys can keep qualifying for the Champions League and experiencing nights such as the one on Tuesday evening.