For­mer Celt now stranger in Par­adise

Stag­gie O’Brien takes trip down mem­ory lane this af­ter­noon

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

Jim O’Brien’s trip to Par­adise is also a jour­ney down mem­ory lane.

The Ross County mid­fielder grew up sup­port­ing the Glas­gow club and was a sea­son ticket-holder be­fore his play­ing tal­ents took him through his boy­hood club’s youth teams and off to di­verse cor­ners of the coun­try.

Hav­ing left sec­ond club Mother­well in 2010, O’Brien hopes to set foot on Park­head’s turf for the first time in seven years af­ter stints with Barns­ley, Coven­try City, Scun­thorpe United and Shrews­bury Town.

The 29-year-old from Alexan­dria is de­ter­mined to in­flict fresh hurt on the team he has sup­ported for as long as he can re­mem­ber.

Re­cov­ered from a com­plex ham­string prob­lem that kept him out of the team against Partick This­tle last week, O’Brien said: “There’s a buzz, def­i­nitely, for me go­ing back to Celtic as I used to have a sea­son ticket there. I was there for the last game of last sea­son when they played Hearts and so much has changed. It’s not the Park­head I knew, even though it is the same sta­dium, but there’s def­i­nitely a real tingle of ex­cite­ment driv­ing up to the sta­dium and play­ing in front of 60,000 peo­ple.

“All of my mates will be there as well, sup­port­ing Celtic. It’s a good day and one to test our­selves against the best play­ers in the coun­try.”

O’Brien watched Celtic’s crushing de­feat to Paris St Ger­main on Tues­day night on tele­vi­sion with team- mate Michael Gar­dyne and hopes, but doesn’t ex­pect, fa­tigue from the game will make life marginally eas­ier for County.

O’Brien stressed: “Some­times you’ve just got to hold your hands up and say wow.

“Paris St Ger­main were in­cred­i­ble and hope­fully Celtic will be a lit­tle bit tired, but we know they will be hurt­ing and will send out a strong team. On Tues­day, I was say­ing to my mates that’s how it feels for every­one else in Scot­land. Celtic now know how it feels for the rest of us.

“They’ll be hurt­ing and will want a pos­i­tive re­sult straight away.

“Even among those who haven’t been start­ing, there are the likes of Callum McGre­gor and Tom Rogic on the bench, who are fresh. They have enough dan­ger­ous play­ers to freshen it up and Moussa Dem­bele could be back as well.

“But we’re look­ing for­ward to the game. The book­ies and every­one else will ex­pect a poor day for us, but we want to show how well we can play against Celtic.”

O’Brien can draw en­cour­age­ment from County’s home draw with Celtic in Ding­wall last sea­son, adding: “I en­joyed that game. We frus­trated them. Go­ing down there, we want to try to do to them what they did not do to PSG the other night – get in their faces and frus­trate them again.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.