Coming up against Real Madrid in the Champions League is a “dream come true” for Matt O’Riley but the Celtic midfielder says the Hoops will “play with no fear” as they look continue their excellent early season form.
The Denmark under-21 international is looking forward to testing himself against European royalty in front of 60,000 fans at Celtic Park in the continent’s top tournament and he insists any player who doesn’t relish such an occasion is probably in the wrong sport.
Ange Postecoglou’s side have started the season in red hot form with seven wins from seven and scoring 29 goals in the process while building up a five-point lead over Rangers at the top of the Premiership as they look to retain the title they won last season.
On Saturday they brushed aside their city rivals with a 4-0 win in Parkhead to continue a 38-game unbeaten league run and give them a commanding lead at the top of the pile after only six Premiership games.
And O’Riley, who signed from MK Dons in January, says confidence is so high at Celtic Park that they believe they can win every game “regardless of the opposition”.
He said: “We are just going to go out there and play with no fear, it’s all we can do,” he said. “If you can’t enjoy this, I don’t think you can enjoy any game.
“We go into every single game believing we can win regardless of the opposition, regardless of the magnitude of the game.
“All these years of academy football and then first-team football, it’s just preparation for nights like this.
“I understand the game is big from an external view and the magnitude of it is really big, but when you’re on the pitch you don’t really think about that too much. You just play your game. I feel prepared and I think everyone else is as well.”
O’Riley has afforded himself some time to appreciate the opportunity that awaits.
“Arguably the biggest club in the world so for someone like myself who has always dreamt of playing in a competition of this stature, it’s a dream come true,” he said.
“I know Celtic fans especially, this is the one they have wanted for years. Now we have got that fixture so hopefully we can put on a good show for them.
“For me, I don’t really mind who we play against, just being able to test ourselves against the best players in the world is a privilege.”