CELTIC’s latest arrival Matt O’Riley says he is ready to be thrown in for his debut against Hearts at Tynecastle tonight in the absence of captain Callum McGregor.

Midfielder O’Riley joined the club from MK Dons last week, signing just too late to be included in the squad for the weekend Scottish Cup win over Alloa.

With both McGregor and Yosuke Ideguchi picking up injuries described as ‘significant’ by manager Ange Postecoglou during the match, O’Riley may be handed a baptism of fire at a packed Tynecastle this evening.

The 21-year-old is adamant he is up to the challenge though having played 30 matches already this season, and completing his last game for MK Dons just 10 days ago.

“That was Portsmouth away and that was a tough game as well, so in that sense I feel physically sharp,” O’Riley said.

“Playing 30 games is quite a lot, so I think my body is ready for the amount of games coming up because we have a lot of games in the next period. We are going to need everybody to be at it.

“I feel good, let’s see what happens. I feel ready to go, which is the main thing. I have played enough games to feel in good physical shape. So in that sense I am feeling good and hopefully I get the chance to play.

“Injuries come unfortunately and while I certainly don’t want any teammates to be injured it does happen. When it does someone like myself has to be ready, so we will see what happens.

“But I feel ready to go and if I am called upon I will do my best to be ready.”

O’Riley knows that the blood and thunder of a game under the lights at Tynecastle may not be ideally suited to his more refined skillset, but he is relishing the challenge of adapting to the pace of the Scottish game.

“I have been told that already [that the game will be hectic],” he said.

“I’ve been told to be ready for a hostile atmosphere as well. But that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to experience something new and hopefully I can really make the most of it.

“It’s important to be adaptable to any kind of game you play. And while, on the whole, I wouldn’t say I’m hectic in the way I play I am going to have to adapt to it.

“We can try to stamp our style in the game to try to make it less hectic and manic, but I have to be ready for whatever comes my way.”

Meanwhile, O’Riley has revealed that his previous manager at MK Dons – former Rangers defender Russell Martin – gave the Scottish game a glowing reference before he made the move north, despite the fact he wanted to take him to Swansea City.

“Russell was a big influence on me and I still have a good relationship with him,” he said.

“He wished me all the best in coming here and told me it would be a great move for me.

“From the time I spent working with him we developed a good relationship and he really helped me because he understood me both as a player and as a person, which always helps. He is definitely a big figure in my early career as well.

“He also spoke to me briefly about his time in Glasgow, highlighting the magnitude of the rivalry between the two clubs.

“But he also told me he enjoyed his time here and spoke in glowing terms of the size of the clubs.”