O'Riley: Record against Rangers will give Celtic cup final confidence

The Celtic star says his side 'come alive' in the final stretch of the season.

Matt O’Riley believes Celtic’s win over Rangers in the Premiership can give them confidence ahead of the Scottish Cup final but warns it could be a different game between the rivals at Hampden.

The Denmark midfielder scored the opener in his side’s 2-1 derby victory at Celtic Park on Saturday, helping his side to a crucial win that puts them on the verge of becoming Premiership champions.

The team could end the season with a double if they can get the better of Rangers in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden.

Having won three of the derbies so far this season, and drawn the other, O’Riley says the head-to-head record can give the team belief but they won’t be complacent.

“I definitely think the confidence is there,” he said. “I don’t think you can look back at games too much and take them with you. I think every game poses different challenges.

“When it comes to that game we’ll study them like we always do, and go into it with an open mind. If you hold on to previous results too much then it can feel a little bit distracting.

“We’ll approach it as a new game.”

Celtic had dropped to second in the table just weeks ago but have found form at the right time to close in on another title and look towards more silverware. Asked what their recent run of form and results said about the team’s mentality, the midfielder pointed to “strong characters” in the squad.

“I think it says everything,” he said. “We always come alive towards the end of the season, especially when it matters quite a lot.

“We’ve got a lot of big characters in the dressing room that helps drive us in these final moments. I think everyone is feeling really calm, which is the most important thing.”

Celtic just need a point from their final two league games to clinch the title, but could even be crowned champions on Tuesday if Rangers drop points to Dundee. Saturday’s derby win means the team have one hand on the trophy and O’Riley is looking forward to giving the fans more moments to enjoy.

“Obviously you represent Celtic and you know the weight that comes with that because it’s a massive club that means a lot to so many people,” he said.

“I personally try not to look on it as a weight and look at it from an enjoyment perspective because I think we can bring a lot of love and joy to people’s lives, especially when things go well.

“We try to express that on the pitch and make people smile and I think today was the perfect day for it.

“We’re in a better place to win the league now and that’s what it’s about, for the fans as well.

“We’re six points clear with two games to go so in that sense we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

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