Celtic midfielder O’Riley focusing on daily routines for self-improvement

The 23-year-old won his first cap in Monday’s 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley will keep focusing on his daily routines for self-improvement rather than be derailed by thoughts of Euro 2024 after making his Denmark debut in midweek.

The 23-year-old won his first cap in Monday’s 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Kasper Hjulmand’s side had already won their group before the Belfast trip and O’Riley will keep trying to impress for Celtic with his international hopes firmly in the back of his mind.

“The first cap is obviously a good moment, albeit it wasn’t our best performance, but at the same time you are still playing for your country,” he said.

“It was a proud moment for me and my family also. My family were there, my mum and dad, girlfriend and agent/friend.

“It’s obviously a new experience, new team-mates, new players, that’s always challenging because it’s a new environment, new people, so it takes a bit of time to adapt naturally but I found it relatively easy just because they are really nice people.

“The first few days you are a little bit nervous, just getting into it, but after that you are fine.

“It’s not something I gave too much thought to, you are still just playing football at the end of the day. If I am playing with good players and playing under a good manager, it shouldn’t really be a problem to play well.

“And yeah, of course I was disappointed with the result and I was hard on myself after the game because you naturally are when you lose but I received some nice feedback regardless.

“I am obviously in the mix now so it’s about trying to keep improving.”

On the prospect of playing in Germany next summer, the former MK Dons midfielder said: “It was always a target anyway. It’s something I try not to think about too much on a regular basis, it’s more a case of daily processes here, boring day-to-day stuff, that usually helps get you to where you want to get to.

“It’s four or five months to the next camp so there is a lot of football to be played for your club before then and a lot of things can happen in terms of performances, so I will try my best.

“That’s what got me there in the first place and I will try to keep improving as a player.

“I feel good, feel strong physically and mentally, which is progress. I feel like I have improved a lot this season on various aspects.”

One of those aspects is goalscoring – O’Riley has six goals to his name ahead of Saturday’s visit of Motherwell, more than his total from last term.

When asked what had contributed to his figures, the former Fulham trainee said: “A clearer mind first and foremost, I am more open when I am on the pitch.

“Secondly just getting into the right positions to score and then taking a little bit of pressure off myself, not expecting myself to score every game, just going into trying to do my best for the team and naturally you get your outcomes.

“You have to go through experiences. I had to go through the phase where I didn’t score for a long time to know maybe then how to take pressure off myself the next time.

“For me the big thing that has helped the most is just being in the best frame of mind. That’s something I give a lot of attention to on a daily basis.

“I meditate a lot, I speak regularly with my friend/life coach who lives in India. I work a lot with him in terms of speaking about things that were maybe kept inside me for a long time.

“I might not have had the knowledge to understand how to speak about it.

“That has helped me loads, I feel more confident and open to speak to people in general.”

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