Play the Cool Hand Luke hand Matt

I was pondering the annual handing out of awards to players. As you probably know by now, big Matt O’Riley scooped all three awards on Monday night, young (ahem) player of the year, actual player of the year, and the players choice for player of the year.


Call me old fashioned but I actually prefer any awards to be handed out post season, such as the other three gongs he is favourite to pick up, a league winners medal, a Scottish Cup winning medal, and of course winner of the world famous Jobo Baldie organized Player Of the Year competition voted on exclusively by supporters. By any measure, winning six different awards in a single season equals success.


The thing is though, he hasn’t been at his scintillating best for much of the campaign, a strong start and end sandwich a lackluster middle. Yet still he cleans up everything on offer, is the squads most valuable player, and reports now have him heading to the EPL top six just like his old manager and theman who brought him to Celtic.


We’ve made him an International, a twenty million plus player, filled out his trophy cabinet, he’s 23 with his best years ahead of him and in demand. What should he do?
In my opinion he should play the coolest hand of all, nothing. He should do nothing and go nowhere, and I’ll explain my rationale.


It’s the wrong time for him to move, for the simple fact he needs to hone and polish up his game more, and he’s at the ideal place to do it. Celtic are going places under Brendan, the manager who won the transfer committee battle, and under a new head of scouting will surely improve the quality of the first team and the squad. If he can sparkle now in this team for stretches, logic dictates he would improve in a better team. That’s on the horizon. If his performances in the Champions League drew the eye of admirers, logic dictates another 8 games minimum in that competition should either catch the eye of others, or reinforce current admirers to show their hand and move for the player.


In which case he’s more experienced and presumably improved with a better caliber of player on the pitch alongside him. He will be better adjusted to the demands of football given many more high stakes games in Europe and the effort to lift yourself for the humble domestic game after. He might even leave behind the mid season slump, meaning he’s ready for a full season of higher pressure, more demanding football. The only thing staying would hurt is his wallet, but let’s face it he’s not skint, and another successful season should see his wage demands increase upon departure.


Besides, in my humble opinion none of the clubs linked would suit him, in which case he’s best actually starting games and improving, then joining the perfect fit.
Two of the top six EPL clubs interested?
That league is about technical ability, power, and pace. He’s got one of those, the technique obviously. He’s not the quickest, pace isn’t his strong point. He’s skinny, dare I say not renowned for tackling or throwing his weight about.


And even looking at the EPL top six I discount several clubs right away. Man City, Pep would bench him for not giving everything in attack and defense, he doesn’t get up and down, his workrate would leave the Spanaird fuming and he doesn’t need another luxury player. Liverpools midfield is young and stacked, not needed except as a squad player which would see him regress. Ange needs Spurs to stop shipping goals, and score more, he’s after defenders and strikers. Arsenal will add one world class midfielder into the mix as the final piece of the jigsaw, and he’s just not world class, nor would he start much there.
Newcastle will play 4-4-2 next season and he doesn’t suit a two in the middle.
Villa and Emery would probably be a good fit, their pragmatist manager accesses what players can offer and devises a way to fit them into the team, probably his best bet then as he’s not an all rounder, nor a Scoles who couldn’t tackle at all but my goodness could he see a pass and execute it perfectly.
Meanwhile Inter and Athletico are very tactical teams, not saying he’s thick or anything but he doesn’t strike me as a great reader of the game, I don’t actually think he would enjoy such specific responsibility as he looks best when floating around the final third.
In many ways he reminds me of a certain player, Mesut Ozil, a chap who infuriated many with his laid back languid style of play, but a player who could hit the back of the net.


Allied to the above, we know for a fact he enjoys Brendan’s approach to the game having raved about it at the start of the season. He must enjoy the awards and the big European nights our club offers, and the players clearly appreciate and respect him as per the fact the majority at least voted for him. Better players should afford him a better chance to shine and score next season.


It’s not just the heart talking but the head. I posit leaving at 24 with more European experience under the belt would result in a more rounded player and would be better for his career, and pocket. Best for us, and him. In that scenario, you play the Cool Hand Luke hand.

By Mahe

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May 14, 2024 5:39 am

The Sentinel Celts Charity Drive has nominated Blood Cancer UK as the recipient for funds for the six months to 31/07/2024,and we are getting close to achieving our LATEST TARGET.

We have set up a GoFundMe page for those who have some spare cash to donate,even from a lucky windfall or finding a tenner in the street.

Click on the link for more details,including how to donate.

Please give generously to a very deserving cause. Although our first targets have now been achieved-and many thanks for your generosity!-we can always hope to do more.

May 14, 2024 5:40 am


You can read our article on a resolution for improving refereeing standards here.

Join the growing numbers of our readers who have had enough of referees In hun scarves.

Craig 76
May 14, 2024 6:18 am

BMCUWP/MIT and IniquitousIV
Hundstram ran into Collum about 30 yards from goal, he eventually scored from about 7 yards out so not sure he can blame anyone but himself.

May 14, 2024 6:22 am


Excellent lead article, Mahe. I would absolutely love it, if we could start holding onto our best players as a matter of course…and not punting them at the first opportunity, in order to increase the bank balance. That way, we could have a group of players familiar with each other, instead of having to make wholesale changes to the team every season. Hopefully, BR will now be given complete control over all football matters. More importantly, I hope that that the fecker Lawwell will have his wings clipped, and that it is made clear, that he stays out of matters which do not officially concern him. Even better, get him TF during the summer.

Hail Hail.

May 14, 2024 6:28 am


I thought big Lundstrum’s finishing touch was technically excellent. One of the goals of the season, as far as I am concerned.

Hail Hail.

Craig 76
May 14, 2024 6:54 am

Maybe the club could include it on goal of the season, just for the meltdown it would cause across the river

16 roads
May 14, 2024 7:19 am

Noticed thon Souness clampit is becoming increasingly angry and unhinged.

Kenny mental Miller apoplectic meltdown.

Shocking the media giving those peepil a platform to convey their irrational rage and delusional tripe.

HH. ☘️

May 14, 2024 7:23 am


A fine suggestion…and if Willie Collum is credited with an assist, so much the better.

Hail Hail.

May 14, 2024 8:00 am

Danish media outlet Tipsbladet reporting that Matty O’R’s reps are holding talks with two top 6 EPL clubs (if true i bet one are Spurs) and that Atletico Madrid are closely monitoring his situation🤔Now here’s me thinking that he had recently signed a new contract that runs to 2027 so his reps shouldn’t be talking to anyone without Celtic’s permission should they? Unless of course there is a release clause in his contract or more likely the story is B/S.
Personally i think Celtic will cash in and he will be offski in the summer, it’s our modus operandi ain’t it 🤬 buy 50 ugly ducklings, 1 occasionally turns into a beautiful swan, we then quickly sell it to someone who has a bigger much nicer pond than ours and then waste the money buying another 50 ugly ducklings in the forlorn hope another turns into a swan.

Mahe, another reason i can’t see the prospect of our playing in Europe stopping Matt leaving. As it stands we are cannon fodder and will remain so unless there is a influx of quality experienced players. Which of course costs money can you see Celtic PLC actually using any of the cash horde? They’ll probably just sell Matt and use ‘some’ of the money received to buy a couple of players. Whereas Matt could also gain Euro experience and go further with any of the clubs he is supposedly linked with whilst experiencing being able to actually compete as opposed to being in a team that is sadly habitually pumped in Euro comps

16 roads
May 14, 2024 8:28 am

On This Day 1988:


Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 8:33 am

The promised land of a top team in the EPL and trebling your salary or hanging around for another year, possible Euro ignominy and your stock might fall to Christie/ Armstrong Bournemouth/Southampton levels.

I’ll take 4 years at £60k(?) per week thanks.

May 14, 2024 8:52 am


The first person to comment on Lundstrum and Collum was none other than the wee rat McCann on Sportscene Saturday evening. Since then all hun media along with blogs have jumped on the bandwagon. This will result in more “we don’t want Collum” from Bisgrove and Co no doubt. The lunatic section of their support could actually cause him grief you just never know. Amazing what one bullsxxt comment from an ex hun player can start.
Surprised McLean on VAR didn’t roll the camera back to try and show a foul by Collum and disallow an og.

May 14, 2024 9:11 am

Never seen the incident ,but collum tried to rectify getting into lundstrums way( if he did ) by doing his best for them in the last 15 minutes , with a constant supply of free kicks for nothing . He should also be hauled over the coals for missing the no 42 for an assault on Rio which merited a straight red .

Jobo Baldie
May 14, 2024 9:18 am

A good read, Mahe, thank you.
Matt is a bit of an enigma for me. He is leading the POTY votes as he consistently is there or thereabouts when folk are picking their 3. But equally he’s far from irreplaceable and there’ve been plenty times where I felt that Bernardo was just as effective. If silly money comes in for Matt – and personally I’d say £15M+ is still very decent – Id take it, on the proviso we then immediately spend it!!
In other news, today is our first of 3 opportunities to be crowned Champions. Come on Dundee, keep the bad times heading their way, please.

May 14, 2024 9:19 am


I said on here soon after O’Riley arrived that he would be a star for us. I actually said that he would be nailed on for a contract extension in the summer,having only signed in January,and I still think that we should have done just that. Of course,I knew nothing about him. What I related was simply what I had been told by an MK Dons friend who had watched him for the year he spent there. I take no credit for anything other than a good memory at times.

Matt has since proved himself-in little over two years!-to be the most effective attacking midfielder in Scotland,playing the No 8 for us. For a while,eighteen months ago,he proved himself to be a very effective No 6 as he covered for the injured CalMac. I’ll go slightly further and compare him in style and effect to Stan Petrov. Though he still has some way to go for the comparison to be flattering.

When Stan left,he was very much the finished article. Proved himself on the international stage,the best Bulgarian footballer ever,apart from Stoichkov-according to Stoichkov himself. Proved himself in European football too as a vital part of the Seville and Fortress Parkhead days. Stan acquitted himself well at Villa,even becoming captain. Admired and respected as player,and that only increased thanks to his success in fighting acute leukaemia.

But even Stan could not match his achievements elsewhere that could come close to his time at Celtic. Few have,in my time as a player. Dalglish certainly. Henrik with his Big Cup medal. McClair at a push,the first Man Utd player since Best to score twenty goals a season. All have another thing in common. A lot more than two years in the spotlight at our club!

I don’t think Matt is ready for the step up. He has been fantastic for us in his time here-but hardly all the time! He has yet to cut it in Europe and has only one cap for Denmark. I think he is a wonderful player who can improve,a player with the potential to strut his stuff on the wider stage. But I think he is a good bit away from that yet,he needs time to develop and mature. He can do that with us but can he do it elsewhere as a big-money signing hailed as the new Messiah?

I adored Liam Miller twenty years ago when he burst onto the scene,and I didn’t begrudge him his move to Man Utd. I thought the timing was wrong for him though,that he wasn’t ready. Events,sadly,proved me correct. Exeter City hammered it home for him. Can he do it at home against Exeter City in front of a capacity crowd,lovely day,a cup tie? Everyone willing you to succeed?

Riddle me another one.

I don’t want Matt to fail when he leaves us. I want him to make the correct move at the correct time to a side which can do him justice,to a club where he can do justice to his talents. I don’t think he should move just because he has been told that he is somehow bigger and better than us.

May 14, 2024 9:35 am


MOR — your description does not do him justice.
He is a huge talent who will be a star in some very good football teams.
Just a case that he is a bit high maintenance and a bit highly strung.
Bit to go on the engagement / reliability front — but a huge talent.

Strange mix — introverted / highly self critical / leader / talisman all in the space of 5 minutes..
Going rate in the summer to a good team — 50mill would be fair all round.

Not even our best MF’er of the recent past.
2019 / ON — showed much more on occasion / could run a game.
2022 / RH — more egregious talent / bigger vision / passing range.
2023 / AaM — game smarts / experience / kept him out the team playing in third gear.

However good as these players have been on RH comes close regarding potential and top drawer class.
MOR has a huge amount more to give — currently half cooked but with huge potential.

However the irony in all of this is that we have been honking in the MF game after game throughout the season.
As noted by the MoM stats — CMcG only turns up to play against Govan FC and that is not good / killing us performance wise.

Future — we have stagnated as a team this season.
MOR — and to be fair the whole team — can’t afford another season of stagnation.
If the money is right then better he goes now — some of his recent performances have been shocking.
Young guy in a hurry / with plans — let him go.
OE shows how it can all go so wrong.

Then we can get down to the real business — two experienced grafters to provide a platform for RH to shine.
Better coaching / better tactics / better set up — we need to be CL ready / credible for the full 90 minutes.

Squad harmony front — OTH has something but needs work / PB needs to be allowed to play his game / TI needs time in the SPL.
Another AaM figure would be great to help develop the talent that we have.
Plus a copuple of SPL diamonds to pack the batting / keep EUFA happy.

MOR goes — we will have no excuses / we will have the resources.
MOR fee — 50% for his replacements / 50% for the Main Stand rebuild fund.

May 14, 2024 9:35 am

Quick question before I head out.

Where were you this day in 1988?

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 9:38 am



Absolute nonsense worthy of Ibrox Noise delusion.

May 14, 2024 9:48 am


MOR is a much more complete player than SP.
SP was a huge performer / all action / B2B MF’er out of the top drawer.

MOR has more than that regarding vision / passing range / has a step / goal threat.
He is however half cooked / needs to settle down / learn from top rank players / build his game.

A MF of SP in his prime / RH at full chat / 2026 version of MOR would win a CL QF.

This season has shown our issues with the MF.
Lack of experience / game smarts / player mix / coaching and set up.

The last two months have seen some of the worst MF displays of the past 25 years.
We have been honking on a regular basis.

Change is required so lets make the most of it.

May 14, 2024 9:50 am

JS @ 9.38

SPL / Natland cringe out in the open / in full view — thanks for that.

May 14, 2024 9:53 am

Og @ 8.00

You would not appear to have much faith in our coaching / management ability.
Is that a general observation or is it specific to this season?

Big Audio Dynamite
May 14, 2024 9:54 am

Callum only turns up against Sevco?? 😂😂

That troll is funny.

A Thing Of Beauty
May 14, 2024 9:56 am

Auldbhoy 852,
If you watch the incident with Collum and Lundstram again what you will see is Lundstram and Collum reacting at almost the same time to Hatate on the move. The problem for Lundstram is that Collum leaves him trailing in his wake and that’s why he has to go round him. Collum should always be behind the player but it’s not his fault if the player moves like a geriatric old fart. No offence to geriatric old farts intended.

May 14, 2024 9:59 am

Govan FC bleating @ OG goal …
Ludge MIB plus WC are now in full mobile chicane mode.

In trying to keep up with play they are an extra defender as they continually get in the road / block off passing lanes / narrow the game down.

Karma that on this occasion their efforts hindered their / our friends in Govan.

May 14, 2024 10:03 am

Excellent read Mahe,

Does Matt O’Riley, at the age of 23, wish to be the very best player he can be, or is his ambition to maximise his earning potential ? His agent will subscribe to the latter option, otherwise no point in being an agent. The other influential people in his life will have their own opinion.

I would like him to stay and improve the obvious weaknesses in his game. The PLC have conditioned the support into accepting the offer-we-cannot-refuse narrative. Like Jota. What did Lawwell junior and the suits do with the Jota windfall ? Wasted it playing Football Manager on a ridiculous number of projects. If O’Riley wishes to stay for a bit longer, then let him stay, irrespective of the offers that are received.

Even if MOR does stay, we still need to add a quality experienced player to the middle of the park. The type that BR has requested during the past two windows. Refuse him a third time and the PLC will be advertising for a new manager.

Sol Kitts
May 14, 2024 10:03 am

Montgomery binned by Hibs

May 14, 2024 10:04 am


At approx this time in 1988, I was with friends and family in the Albert Bar, just off the Vicky Road. We headed for the game early doors, mainly to give that bastard Thatcher a good bit of abuse. What a day.

Hail Hail.

May 14, 2024 10:11 am

I watched the 1988 Scottish Cup Final from the North Enclosure. The only two other occasions that I remember being in that part of the ground were:

The 1974 League Cup Final and

The 1988 Scottish Cup Semi-final.

The latter game remains my favourite memory of that wonderful Centenary Season.

Hail Hail.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 10:19 am


9.50am – whit?
Wtf is Natland cringe? Something you’ve “ half cooked”?

You make contradictory statements and consider them some sort of truths.

You list Matt’s deficiencies then claim your wishful £50m!
Utter hogwash.

May 14, 2024 10:21 am

1988 SCF — quite a day.

Kiltoon had its first “Hibs” march in my lifetime if ever.
Impromptu affair around the CSC car park by one of the busses stopping over before the game.
Did not go down with some of the locals and led to the “Battle of the Scythe” a few weeks later.

Mrs MM was at the game with her family supporting DU — well before I met her / I was recovering from the egg chasing season.
30 years of conversion therapy has been to no avail although Ms MM and Jr have been raised correctly.

The BBC — as shown on the highlights below — dubbed the booing directed at Maggie.
The original tape is in their vaults — came out for a JMcL / DU history video 25 years later.
Showed the full scale of the booing.

May 14, 2024 10:27 am

JS @ 10.19

No contradiction.
MOR is a huge talent / a huge 50mill talent.
Just a case that his form in 2024 has been a bit patchy.

Better team / experienced quality team-mates / better set up and coaching — he will grow into a great player.
Clubs chasing him now are not buying the finished article — they are buying potential.
He has shown enough nuggets in the CL to get noticed.

Much more complete talent than LF who is making huge waves in Italy.
How much will he go for this summer?

Italy took him out of the SPL and moved him up a couple of levels.
MOR will go further.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 10:42 am

LF is playing in a top 5 league and apparently doing well.
Matt is playing in a third division league where the opposition barely play football.

No doubt he can improve in better surroundings but no one leaves Scotland for £50m. That’s plainly insane.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 10:52 am

I’d go as far as to say clearly better than a Patterson but not at the level of a KT( yet)

So in Scottish financial terms a “Bassey”- £20m.

May 14, 2024 10:52 am

If MoR stays at Celtic I would make Anstruther, Alloway and Girvan plaices he must visit next season on a rolling basis each week.


The clue is in the spelling.

Each plaice do excellent fish suppers and Matt would add to his value by learning how to tackle them.

May 14, 2024 10:52 am

JS @ 10.42

Nobody left the SPL for £10mill until it happened.
Nobody left the SPL for £25mill until it happened.
Nobody will leave the SPL for 50mill until it happens.
Insanity does not come into it.

Talent is craved / scouting is global — the football world has the cash.
We should not be selling our talent at a discount just because we play in the SPL.

That would be the SPL / Natland / Scottish cringe and then some.

May 14, 2024 10:55 am

Cheapshot CSC — MOR and his tackling ability.
One of his strengths is that he might not like tackling he is very good at it when he makes the effort.

Issue on Saturday with his 55/45 loss against JL was that he was thinking too far ahead and lost focus.
Small measures / fine lines but very fixable with the correct coaching / attitude / experience.

May 14, 2024 10:56 am


I H N I W Ps Y A T A at 9.35

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 10:57 am


You confuse realism with attempted politicising, and growth with hyperinflation.

May 14, 2024 11:00 am


CS should run a book — how much will MOR go for when he leaves / we sell him?

My thoughts — 50 mill all in should be the target.
That could be USD / Euros / GBP or bawbees.

Young JF — sold for a song and look at him now.
Shouldn’t happen again.

PL couldn’t cook the books …
Pennywise / pound foolish.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 11:00 am


Jeez oh, you’re inside Matt’s heid now!

May 14, 2024 11:00 am


The fish suppers at said locations are an easy plaice to enjoy tackling.

My point was to be worth £50m MoR needs to add a bit of bite to his game.


May 14, 2024 11:01 am


North Enclosure, boiling hot day. After the miracle of the semi-final, was quite relaxed after Kevin Gallacher scored (what a goal btw). This was OUR season, nothing on earth was going to stop us prevailing. A Reading from the Prophet Billy McNeill .

As an aside, I believe a certain Fergus McCann approached the family dynasties around that time with a view to investing. Knocked back, obviously.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 11:02 am

I think it has been reported JF has a buyout clause in the region of €35m.
And has enjoyed spectacular success in Germany. A top 5 league.

May 14, 2024 11:03 am


You really haven’t played much team sport have you?
At a level where you have to think rather than rely on instructions.

His set up for the tackle was framed by what he was planning to do next when he had the ball.
Everything was in his favour and he got ahead of himself.
It happens / he will learn.

17 years an Egg Chaser CSC.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 11:05 am

Isn’t there an “ egg chasing “ blog you could visit instead and impart this omniscience?

Big Audio Dynamite
May 14, 2024 11:15 am

Just sayin’,

Telling us Callum only turns up for four games against Sevco, shows how much he knows about football.

Just Sayin’
May 14, 2024 11:22 am


Aye, he seems quite proud of the “ egg chasing”.

Perhaps taken too much to his heid in the scrum.

May 14, 2024 11:30 am


It’s crazy to even suggest that this contributed to the og by Lundstrum. I never noticed it at the game looking more at how much room Daizen had to control a 60yard ball. You needed time and a reason like McCann to even consider looking into it. As I say it now diverts away from how poor Lundstrum is to Collum again for the Huns.

I was helping the economy on board a drilling rig in the North Sea. Well somebody had to do it.

Big Audio Dynamite
May 14, 2024 11:31 am

Just sayin’

Back to reality and the Tic.

Hopefully Brendan is building for 4, 5 and 6, and planning to make a mark in Europe 👍

Sevco should be nowhere near us over the next few years.

Big Audio Dynamite
May 14, 2024 11:32 am

Hibs looking for another manager?