Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side continued their incredibly impressive Premiership form on Saturday afternoon, with the Bhoys’ putting four past Ross County in a demolition job at Parkhead.
Indeed, a hat-trick from Giorgos Giakoumakis as well as a first-half Daizen Maeda strike sealed a comfortable win that once again piles the pressure on the Hoops’ Old Firm rivals ahead of their trip to Dundee FC on Sunday.
Speaking about his side’s performance, Postecoglou said: “We had a couple of really tough away games where we’ve done really well but the playing surfaces haven’t allowed us to play our football. Today allowed us to be really good and bright and we were well in control of the game.”
Aside from the positive result, the performance of first-half substitute Matt O’Riley will have also pleased the 56-year-old Bhoys boss immensely, as the midfielder was dominant in the middle of the park – outshining both Tom Rogic and Reo Hatate.
Should O’Riley start in the Old Firm next month?
Indeed, coming on for the injured Rogic in the 33rd minute of the match, the £1.5m January signing turned in a level of performance that he had struggled to reach in the last few weeks – enjoying 57 touches of the ball, completing 39 of his 47 attempted passes – two of which were key – found his man with three long balls and successfully completed two dribbles.
The 21-year-old also did his fair share of the dirty work in the Celtic midfield, making one interception, blocking one shot and winning four duels, as well as breaking up Ross County’s play by committing two fouls.
These returns saw the Denmark U21 international earn a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.5, ranking him as the fifth-best player to feature in the match – a quite remarkable feat considering he started the game on the bench.
Furthermore, The Athletic’s Kieran Devlin was also clearly impressed with O’Riley’s display on Saturday, stating of the midfielder: “[Reo] Hatate and O’Riley’s best performances in a month which is encouraging too. Very complete performance today, lots to be happy about.”
As such, with a potential title decider against Rangers up next for the Bhoys, the £405k-rated youngster’s display against County will have done him no harm in his bid to secure a starting spot in the Old Firm clash, something that could well present Postecoglou will a major headache ahead of the Glasgow derby.
Indeed, after this performance, the 56-year-old will struggle to justify leaving the player who John McGinley dubbed a “Harlem Globetrotter” out of his starting XI on April 3.