Celtic’s Matt O’Reilly believes Japan tour will be instrumental in starting the season strongly

    Matt O’Reilly believes Celtic will take advantage of their tour of Japan in the upcoming season.

    The Hoops midfielder spoke after a 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka, which was scored in the 85th minute by defender Alexandro Bernabei.

    The win came after last season’s treble holders lost 6-4 to Yokohama F Marinos on Wednesday. In an interview with CelticTV, O’Reilly, who played over 100 minutes in both games, said: “Conditions were tough, not only because of the weather, but also because the field was so much harder than the last game.

    “It was a good test and both teams showed good football, which made it difficult for us.

    “It’s good and quite unique to play against other teams that have improved their fitness, so it’s quite a challenge.

    “Their fitness levels are already quite high and they are already halfway into the season.

    “From a structural point of view, they have good cohesion and it was not easy, but it will really help us at the beginning of the season.

    “Despite the fact that both teams had many chances, we were very reliable defensively and gave everything even in pre-season.”

    The Brendan Rodgers team is returning to Scotland in the coming days. This trip will put an end to several weeks of training in Europe and Asia, as well as two more games in Dublin and Glasgow.

    Ahead of the first Premier League game against Ross County in a couple of weeks, O’Reilly spoke of the positive attitude of Rodgers, who returned for a second spell as Celtic boss after Ange Postecoglou’s departure to Tottenham.

    He said: “I feel very good and we are in a better position than in the last game.

    “The score in the last game is something we didn’t want, but it’s still early preseason.

    “I was very lucky that in a short period of time at a young age I had very good managers.

    “Here the duty officer is especially good at communicating and concisely expressing his point of view. For all of us, it makes the transition to the field easier.

    “Being able to have that kind of relationship where you can talk to him and constantly learn new things in an open environment is very satisfying.”

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