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Celtic: Matt O’Riley ran the show vs Hearts

Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side headed into Wednesday evening’s Premiership clash against Hearts knowing they would be in for a tough 90 minutes, with Tynecastle far from being an easy place to visit.

However, a dominating first-half performance saw Celtic race into a two-goal lead, with Reo Hatate’s 30-yard thunderbolt opening the scoring before Matt O’Riley smartly set up Giorgos Giakoumakis who duly doubled the Hoops’ advantage.

The second half was a slightly more even contest, with Hearts growing into the game and Postecoglou’s side looking as if they were beginning to tire when, despite appearing to be in an offside position when the ball was played, Liam Boyce pulled one back for the hosts.

Boyce then had the perfect opportunity to level the scores with just 17 minutes remaining, however, the centre-forward fluffed his lines from 12-yards out, seeing his spot-kick smack the base of the post and, ultimately, ensuring that Celtic would be heading back to Glasgow with all three points in tow.

However, despite the fine margins, the fact that Celtic managed to secure a victory with a heavily depleted squad in what will undoubtedly be one of their more challenging fixtures of the season will have delighted Postecoglou – as will the debut performance of central midfielder O’Riley.

Was O'Riley Celtic's best player vs Hearts?





8 key passes

Playing his first fixture in green and white since a £1.5m move to Parkhead this winter, O’Riley immediately proved worth this minimal fee, with the 21-year-old looking extremely comfortable in possession and providing a continual creative threat for Celtic on Wednesday evening.

Indeed, over his 86 minutes on the pitch, the £405k-rated midfielder enjoyed 59 touches of the ball, completed 31 passes, made one tackle, completed two dribbles and had two shots at the Hearts goal blocked.

However, it was undoubtedly the 21-year-old’s whopping eight key passes that made him stand out most on the night – one of which set up Giakoumakis for Celtic’s second.

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These returns saw the former England youth international earn a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.5, ranking the midfielder as the best performer from either side at Tynecastle.

As such, while he is only one game into his career at Parkhead, Postecoglou’s identification of O’Riley as a target for the club, as well as landing the midfielder for such a reasonable price, already seems to have been proven as yet another genius piece of transfer business from the 56-year-old.

In other news: Celtic suffer yet another big blow as transfer update emerges that’ll have fans gutted

Article title: Celtic: Matt O’Riley ran the show vs Hearts

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