IT’s not every young player who would turn down the security of a big-money contract to move down the divisions in search of first-team football, but then not every player is Matt O’Riley.

The new arrival at Celtic raised eyebrows when, as a promising 19-year-old on the fringes of the Fulham team, he decided to reject a new deal on faith alone that a club would come along where he could play a more central role.

It took a while, with O’Riley training on his own in public parks for a number of months, but eventually the call came from MK Dons, where he eventually went on to become the team captain.

That gamble has now paid off in even more handsome fashion after he became Ange Postecoglou’s fifth signing of the window, and his new manager says that O’Riley’s steely determination to become the best player he can played a huge part in convincing him that the 21-year-old was made of the right stuff for Celtic.

"That is part of the process for me - I don't just sign players, I sign people,” Postecoglou said. "That is important and I had a great conversation with him.

"He is a very mature young man and credit to his parents for his upbringing. He knows what he wants to do and what his priorities are right now.

"Matt was prepared to take a step back to MK Dons after he left Fulham, in terms of the levels he was playing at, because he backed himself. He could have had a more comfortable existence where he was but he went down a level and then won a move to a big club.

"Matt has a burning desire to reach the very top and that's great. Those are the types we want at the club.”

O’Riley’s clearance is not expected to be through in time for him to play against Alloa in tonight’s Scottish Cup tie, and the initial problem for the former England youth international may well be that the Celtic midfield is already well-stocked with that type of player Postecoglou so admires.

The Celtic manager says that his versatility will work in his favour though.

"Matt can play in different midfield positions and I like that area to be very fluid for us,” he said.

"I want players who can move about and Matt fits that perfectly.

"He can play in the deeper-lying role as he has a great passing range, but he also has a goal threat and can play further up.

"Matt is only 21. He has really good attributes and will fit into the way we play.

"That can help us in different areas and he will be able to play in a couple of roles for us.”

From O’Riley’s perspective, he has already made clear that the style of football deployed by Postecoglou – and where he sees himself thriving within it – played a huge role in his decision to snub interest from elsewhere and make the move to Glasgow.

"Matt's comments on our style of play aren't a reflection on me - it's about the work we have done so far,” said Postecoglou.

"The players are the ones out there exciting the fans, not me. They have delivered performances and bought into how we want to play football.

"For me, that's a really strong part of the culture of this football club. It's a club built on success but it also demands success in a certain style. That's the kind of team we want to be but we are not there yet.

"From the first day, the supporters can see what we are trying to do and we need to continue that now.”

Postecoglou had previously said that he expected no further business in the transfer window, but he explained he had been keeping an eye on O’Riley’s situation for quite some time in case he became available.

"The deal did happen quickly this week but he's one that was on our radar in the summer when I first arrived,” he said.

“I kinda looked at it then and for a number of reasons the timing wasn't right.

"But I have followed him in the first half of the season and he's been really good for MK Dons.

"When we came into the window, the first priority was to tie up the deals that we did.

"Matt's situation then surfaced a few days ago and I thought if we could move quickly it would be a good one for us.

"He's a talented player and I had a good chat to the lad, so he will fit in really well. From my perspective, once I knew it could be done then I was really keen.

"Michael and the club concluded it in a couple of days, so although it felt like it came out of the blue it was one that was in the pipeline for a while.”