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Scottish football news: Matt O’Riley’s revelation about his Celtic transfer, Rangers’ “happy guys,” Hearts’ star talks about his new contract, and Hibs’ inspiration

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O’Riley: Transfer talk got to me

Matt O’Riley, a midfielder for Celtic, acknowledges that rumors of a January transfer had an impact on his play. Speaking on the eve of the Premiership champions’ trip to Ibrox on Sunday, O’Riley admitted that Atletico Madrid had made an unsuccessful attempt to sign the Dane. “If I’m being completely honest, the first two or three games after the transfer window mentally it was a slight challenge because I felt somewhat of a bit of added pressure on my shoulders, just slightly,” O’Riley said. However, I then realized that I wasn’t really sure why I was placing further strain on myself. Really, there was nothing I needed to adjust. I kind of moved on from that and concentrated on my contributions to the team; everything fell into place once more. No matter how well things go, every season will present a unique set of challenges. Bids are fantastic, of course, but if you don’t view things correctly, they could also work against you, so that’s something more to keep in mind moving forward.

Matt O'Riley was wanted by Atletico Madrid earlier in the seaaon.

Rangers in a good place

When Rangers prepares to take on leaders Celtic in the Premiership on Sunday, Connor Goldson says there are “a lot of happy boys” in the team’s locker room. The Light Blues have a game in hand over Dundee away, but they start the match at Ibrox one point behind the Hoops. Since losing 2-1 to Celtic at Parkhead in December, Philippe Clement’s team has collected 30 points out of 33, and defender Goldson thinks there is a lot of confidence. “I think we are in a good spot; we have had a good run of form over the previous few months,” the speaker stated. The lads are accustomed to the manager’s presence now that he has been here for a longer time, and they have benefited from his daily lessons. There are a lot of content boys in there, and the group has become closer as a whole over this time. All we have to do is carry on with our current course of action—working hard each and every day—and ideally that will lead us to our destination. Naturally, we approach the game as though it were a must-win, but I still believe it will not make a decision.

Maolida is a Hibs inspiration

Myziane Maolida has been in good form for Hibs.

Myziane Maolida is a “inspiration” for Hibs manager Nick Montgomery, who feels he is more than deserving of the Premiership player of the month award for March. Maolida has performed admirably during Ramadan, according to Montgomery. After scoring four goals in six games last month while on loan from Hertha Berlin, Montgomery praised the Comorian, an ex-Lyon player, saying, “He’s more than deserving of the trophy.” He has given us some impressive goals. I had no doubts about his skill when I took him to the club. He required a place to call home and admirers. When I started him against the Rangers at home, he struggled at first. However, I believe that served as a genuine awakening for him, as we had to equip him for the role. With his attitude and training style, I felt he would be very valuable to us in a matter of weeks. He has demonstrated to all. He has also observed a fast throughout Ramadan. It’s a difficult period for him in terms of eating and drinking schedule. But I find his steadfast adherence to his beliefs to be inspirational. He has not only accomplished that, but he has also been named Player of the Month. He was a wise addition for the league as well as the team.

Hearts star open to new deal

Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark says he is open to extending his contract at Hearts. His current deal expires in 2025 and the Scotland stopper said: “I’m loving my football here at the minute. Personally I’m in a good space and the club’s in a good place. Hopefully I’ve got a busy summer coming up. If I can keep doing what I’ve been doing then we’ll see what happens. It could be a pretty hectic one but if there’s time for a sit down then it’s certainly something I’d be open to.”

Zander Clark, Kenneth Vargas and Calum Nieuwnhof during a Hearts press conference.

Leven takes it game at a time

Peter Leven, the interim manager of Aberdeen, says he is embracing his new position game by game. Although current Elfsborg manager Jimmy Thelin has been linked to the Dons, Leven will be in the bench for Saturday’s away game versus Livingston. Since Neil Warnock left Pittodrie last month, Leven has been in control. “They asked me at the beginning of the week if I was willing to take the Livingston game, and I said no issue so I’m just taking it game by game,” Leven said.

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