Celtic secured a 1-0 win over rivals Rangers at Ibrox in the first Glasgow Derby of the season, thanks to a superb strike by Kyogo Furuhashi.

A sixth goal in his last five starts against Rangers, Kyogo’s ruthless strike in the final seconds of the first half gave the Hoops a deserved lead at the interval.

A makeshift Celtic defence, which included derby debutants Gustaf Lagerbielke and Liam Scales at centre-back from the start and finished with both backup full-backs on the pitch, then held firm in the second half to give Brendan Rodgers' his 10th win in 13 derbies.

A resilient team display in front of an Ibrox crowd of only home fans, there were several big individual displays too. Liam Scales picked up the broadcaster’s Player of the Match award for his performance at the heart of the defence, while captain Callum McGregor, after coming in for some criticism in recent weeks, also stepped up to put in his best 90 minutes of the opening part of the season. McGregor was assisted in the Celtic midfield by Matt O’Riley who put in a huge shift - on and off the ball - to continue his excellent start to the season.

READ MORE: The Celtic numbers: How Kyogo and his teammates won at Ibrox

Here, we break down how exactly O’Riley’s role in the Celtic engine room helped edge out rivals Rangers in the season's first derby through several key moments…

Position without ball (2 mins)

Both StatsBomb - shown below -and Wyscout recorded Celtic’s starting formation at Ibrox as a 4-3-3.

This was largely what Celtic did look like with the ball. Out of possession, though, Celtic fell into a 4-4-2 shape, with O’Riley tasked with dropping in beside McGregor to form a tight two in front of the defensive line. Daizen Maeda and Liel Abada tucked in, whilst David Turnbull positioned further forward, pressing from the front as a two with the Japanese striker but in deeper areas just behind Kyogo. An early example of this, from a James Tavernier throw-in just inside the Rangers half, is shown below.

As well as giving protection to an inexperienced centre-back pairing, O’Riley’s positioning without the ball - which he stuck to with discipline throughout the match -also offered support to McGregor, who has looked isolated at times in the Celtic midfield in the opening weeks of the season, especially in transition.

Recovery (4 mins)

A good example of how O’Riley helped alleviate this issue at Ibrox came a few minutes later.  Following a long punt from Joe Hart down the left channel, McGregor jumps up to get around the ball to challenge for the second ball. With O’Riley sitting in though - behind the Rangers midfield three - Celtic have decent protection in the middle of the pitch as the ball comes back.

Highlighting the importance of his positioning, this passage of play was also a good example of what was to come from O’Riley in terms of the intensity of his defensive work. 

As the ball dropped into the middle of the pitch from Tavernier’s header, O’Riley got first contact, outjumping and outmuscling Ryan Jack.

The loose ball did fall to Todd Cantwell, but O’Riley was then on hand to cut out his first-time forward pass before dropping the ball off to Greg Taylor, allowing Celtic to build from the back again. 

Key pass (24 mins)

Although operating as a second ‘number six’ out of possession, O’Riley was still tasked with getting on the ball and being a creative force for Celtic when they were in possession, too.

After getting through plenty of work off the ball in the opening period, the Danish under-21 internationalist was involved in creating one of the biggest chances of the game just before the 25-minute mark. Coming from a Rangers throw-in, which was a result of O’Riley cutting out a ball from the home side’s defence, centre-back John Souttar was pressed into turning the ball over after good work by Turnbull and Abada.

O’Riley got onto the loose ball quickly, threading a nicely weighted ball in behind to put Kyogo through on goal.

Unfortunately, Kyogo was unable to make the most of the opportunity, hesitating somewhat before his eventual shot was cleared off the line by Connor Goldson. Carrying an xG value of 0.24, the chance was statistically Celtic’s ‘best’ of the game.

Assist (45+2 mins)

Kyogo made no mistake with the next chance that came his way, and O’Riley was again involved. Getting first contact on a poor Goldson clearance, O’Riley’s header straight back allowed Celtic’s top marksman in behind the Rangers defence again. There was no hesitation this time, brilliantly smashing the ball into the bottom corner of Jack Butland’s net from the edge of the box.

As much it was an assist - a second of the season for O’Riley - it was his willingness to get his head on the ball, to do the “dirty bits of the game” as Rodgers highlighted post-match, that then allowed Kyogo to punish the Rangers defence.

Clearance (69 mins)

O’Riley and his teammates had to get through plenty more of the dirty side of the game after the break as Rangers improved. As Michael Beale’s side started to exert a bit more pressure as the half went on, O’Riley was on hand to dig Celtic out on several occasions. This included a crucial clearance from a Tavernier cutback in the box just before 70 minutes.

Pass (88 mins)

In the final minutes, O’Riley’s smart play helped Celtic kill the clock as time ran out for the hosts. After an unsuccessful run into the box by substitute Yang, O’Riley, assisted by the tireless Maeda coming across to the other side of the pitch, combined to win the ball back from Nico Raskin deep in the Rangers' half as the seconds ticked away.

Remaining calm on the ball, O’Riley exchanged passes with Anthony Ralston on the touchline before playing a one-two with Maeda.

Holding the ball up in the corner, Raskin did then manage to win a throw off O’Riley but the former Fulham man’s clever play bought Celtic some precious seconds as they saw the match out.

StatsBomb data

StatsBomb’s data further highlights O’Riley’s influence on Celtic’s derby success at Ibrox, particularly off-the-ball. O’Riley exerted 19 pressures, only bettered in the Celtic team by the superhuman Maeda who clocked an incredible 30, more than any other player from either side.

The Japanese international led the way for most counterpressures from either team (seven) but O’Riley was next best on that count in the match with six. The below pressure heatmap shows just how much of the pitch O’Riley covered.

His most intense pressures came in the right central-midfield area, and into the Rangers box, but there were plenty across the front of his own box and even across the other side of the pitch. Some of the more traditional defensive metrics further emphasise just how important O’Riley was for Celtic out-of-possession on Sunday.

No other player on the pitch had more combined tackles and interceptions than O’Riley (nine). His five interceptions were unmatched with his four tackles also the joint most with teammate Alistair Johnston. As already highlighted, as much as O’Riley played a defining role off-the-ball, he still managed to contribute creatively too.

His two key passes, the joint most in the Celtic team with Abada, were responsible for 0.30 xG, just under a third of Celtic’s total cumulative xG of 0.96 on the day.


With six goals in his last five matches against Rangers, Kyogo has certainly now become a Glasgow Derby specialist, but O’Riley is making something of a habit of bringing his best when it comes to derby day, too.

Playing almost two midfield roles in one, a number six out of possession and then a number eight/10 when Celtic were on the ball, O’Riley’s intensity and effectiveness off the ball were key in stifling much of what Rangers could offer up at Ibrox on Sunday. His energy and commitment to shift from a deep position to a more advanced attacking midfield role throughout the match meant he was still able to contribute creatively with his forward runs while also stretching the opposition midfield, creating space for others, like McGregor, who was able to dictate much of the first half.

READ MORE: McGregor on why Celtic hero Kyogo is 'the best striker he's ever seen'

Rangers' passive approach in midfield - especially in that first half - played a part too, of course, but this was a mature performance in every sense from O’Riley. As well as taking on a huge amount of responsibility in terms of his role(s), he looked to take on a leadership role too, shouting for decisions, and passing on instructions to his teammates on several occasions.

As Rodgers pointed out in the aftermath: "I said to them before the game that I need my men today. You need to come here, with 50,000 baying for blood, you need to come and play like a man, even though you're really young players." Although almost everyone in green and white stepped up to the challenge, it could be argued that no player quite encapsulated Rodgers’ words more than 22-year-old Matt O’Riley.