Former Celtic midfielder Pat McGinlay reckons Matt O'Riley could have given Paul McStay a run for his money in his heyday.

McGinlay bestowed a real accolade on O'Riley by insisting that the Dane is on a par with the club legend that is McStay.

The Maestro was capped 76 times for Scotland and scored nine goals and who won three titles, four Scottish Cups and a League cup in his 16 years at Celtic.

O'Riley has enjoyed a wonderful start to the 2022/23 campaign under Brendan Rodgers after netting five goals in 11 appearances.

Like O'Riley, McGinlay garnered his own reputation in his career for being a free-scoring midfielder and spent 15 months at Celtic Park between 1993 and 1994 after joining from Hibs on a £525,000 deal. He becane the clubs top goalscorer with 12 goals in all competitions in season 1993/94.

Having recently penned a new four year deal, McGinlay believes O'Riley could be lauded as a Celtic great just like McStay if he continues to bring even more success to the club and that he will continue to flourish and get better under the guidance of Rodgers.

Celtic Way:

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He said: "Matt O'Riley is a great player. He takes the ball in difficult positions and he is better than anybody I have seen in a long time. He is probably the closest thing I have seen to Paul McStay.

"I played in the same Celtic team as Paul so that is the highest compliment I can give him.

"On the turn he takes the ball exceptionally well and he has added goals to his armoury this season which is absolutely fantastic.

"He has made this Celtic team so much better and he is scoring goals now and that's excellent. I still go to all the Celtic games and watch them play so I am enjoying watching how O'Riley and this Celtic team play at this minute.

"Matt could go on to become one of the great Celtic players as long as he and the team keep winning trophies.

"Brendan Rodgers will improve Matt's game no end as that's what elite-level managers do with great players they make them even better."

O'Riley's form has also seen him earn a call-up to the full Danish international squad for the first time and he could be in line to make his debut for Denmark against San Marino in a European Championship 2024 qualifier.

The 22-year-old, who has been capped four times by Denmark's U21s, has replaced Anderlecht's Kasper Dolberg in Danish boss Kasper Hjulmand's squad after the striker returned home for family reasons.

Despite being an England youth international, O'Riley became eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland and Norway as well as Denmark due to his mother being Danish.

Last February, O'Riley declared his interest in representing Denmark and could now see his dream of gaining full international honours come true against the minnows.

Whilst McGinlay reckons that O'Riley's Danish call-up is cause for celebration he also believes the former Fulham and MK Dons man possessed enough talent to turn out for Gareth Southgate's Auld Enemy side.

 "I am absolutely delighted that Matt has been called up for Denmark and here's hoping that he gets the nod to earn his first Danish cap against San Marino," he continued.

"I genuinely thought Matt could have gained a full cap for England, I really did. I know he opted to play international football for Denmark but I think he is good enough to play for England."

Celtic Way:

McGinlay was back in the green and white at the weekend as he turned out for a Celtic Legends Select against St Roch's at James McGrory Park as part of the junior sides centenary celebrations.

St Roch's triumphed 4-3 but there was a special guest of honour as Rodgers himself flew straight in from a holiday in Majorca to turn up on the sidelines and he even managed to give the Celtic Legends team a half-time pep talk.

 "Even for guys like me sitting in that dressing room at half-time and all of a sudden the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers just walks in and proceeds to give the players a wee team talk. That was magic," he added.

"The Celtic manager even said to me at one point: "How are you doing, Pat?, I was absolutely delighted with that.

"The Celtic supporters never ever forget that you played for the club and what you did. The Celtic fans still want selfies with the likes of myself and it is a great feeling.

"I love turning out in these matches especially for charity. I used to play with a guy called Graham Mitchell at Hibs.  He was a Royston boy so it's nice to come back to the area as I used get dropped off at Graham's mum's before the two of us travelled to Easter Road together for training."