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Quiet week off for Celtic favourite is turned upside down by cap call

Matt O’Riley’s plans for a quiet international break in Mallorca have been turned upside down.

After helping Celtic to a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock the midfielder was expecting to enjoy a week in the sunshine before turning his thoughts to a bust week featuring Hearts, Atletico Madrid and Hibs.

O’Riley has probably been the outstanding player in the Celtic side this season, adding a goalscoring edge to his all round midfield play as he starts his second full season at Celtic after playing a significant role in last season’s treble win.

Brendan Rodgers’ style of play has still to be fully implemented but the former MK Dons man has hit the ground running, earning his first full call up to the Danish international squad.

Explaining his rapid change of location, O’Riley told Danish site Bold:

It happened very quickly. I just got a call from Morten Wieghorst and Kasper Hjulmand.

I was just sitting in Mallorca and eight hours later I was in Denmark, so it all happened very quickly. Wieghorst said that there was a very good chance that I would go and then I had to pack my things and be ready.

I also had to talk to the hotel reception and say that I had to check out, but the feeling you get with that is really good!

O’Riley is in the squad to face San Marino on Tuesday but went undercover to take a look at his new team-mates in last night’s win at home to Kazakhstan:

It was a bit strange. After all, I wasn’t sure if I should hide my face or not. I didn’t want anyone to talk about it, so I chose to wear a hat and hood.

Just being called up to the full international squad should give O’Riley a boost, at the start of last year he was playing in League One for MK Dons as Celtic tried to bring Riley McGree north of the border.

It is one of the great sliding doors moments but if the Australian internationalist had signed for Celtic rather than Middlesbrough it is unlikely that O’Riley would be in the Danish squad with Champions League football on his CV.

Celtic wisely got him signed up onto an improved new contract but international recognition puts players in the shop window, turning 23 next month there could well be a long international future opening up on Tuesday with the Danes looking set for a place at the European Championship Finals in Germany next summer.

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