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O'Riley thrilled by prospect of facing Rangers in trio of derbies

The Celtic midfielder thinks the Hampden semi-final will be an atmosphere to savour.

Celtic’s Matt O’Riley thrilled by prospect of facing Rangers three more times SNS Group
Matt o'Riley says his first Old Firm game was "crazy".

Matt O’Riley says he’s really excited about the prospect of facing Rangers three times in the space of a few weeks.

After beating Dundee United 3-0 at Tannadice in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup , Celtic were drawn against their rivals in the semi-finals of the competition. That fixture will be played in the middle of April. The two teams will also meet in the league in just over a fortnight’s time. As well as facing each other for a final time this season after the split.

O’Riley said: ‘’I think those are the games that I myself probably look forward to most because those are the games you are under most pressure, where you’ve got to demand the most from yourself and as a team, so I’m really excited for it.

“I think these are the games we are buzzing to play in.  We’ll be ready for it. When that game comes, we’ll be prepared.’’

O’Riley made his Old Firm debut when Celtic thumped their rivals 3-0 at Celtic Park in February. The 21-year-old was blown away by the experience:

‘’I don’t think you realise how crazy it is until you are in the stadium,” he said. “I think you can watch on the TV and it looks amazing.

“My mum and dad were in the stadium  and they were like ‘wow, this is crazy’. When you get in the stadium you really get to feel what’s going on.

“I spoke to a few people and they said that was probably one of the craziest atmospheres there’s ever been. Just to be a part of that I’m really grateful for to be honest. ‘’

The semi-final will be played at Hampden on the weekend of April 17/18, when the clubs will have a 50/50 split of fans.

‘’I’m actually looking forward to that,’’ said O’Riley. ‘’It probably creates for a an even better atmosphere, a bit more hostility to both teams so I’ll be excited for that.’’