PARKHEAD PLEASURE FOR PIERRE

With Feyenoord back in Rotterdam, Pierre van Hooijdonk looked back on a successful trip to Glasgow with a smile. The sharpshooter returned to Celtic Park to a tremendous reception and went on to help his current team to a 3-2 win against the green-and-white hoops, scoring one of his trademark freekicks in the process. ‘I had a wonderful day,’ the big man said. Click on ‘more’ to read exactly what Celtic means to Pierre.

‘Most important was obviously that we played a good game. But for me the encounter with Celtic definitely had a special side. It was nice to return to Parkhead and it was even nicer to see how I was welcomed. To be honest I had expected that people be positive, it just sounds a little smug if you say it in advance. But I know how people treasure the history of the club. Even when you only played there for two years, like me. So I knew what I could expect and I still got goose pimples the size of my thumbs when the Scottish fans cheered me.’ Van Hooijdonk took pleasure from the way the Celtic fans honoured their 1967 European Cup conquerors. ‘Superb, the amount of respect they have for ex-players there. The Lisbon Lions are all living legends and are handled as such. It’s not part of our culture to put heroes from the past on a pedestal for ever. That’s why I enjoyed showing my teammates how they do things in Glasgow.’ Van Hooijdonk is still bent on organising an trip to a Celtic-Rangers game with a number of teammates. ‘But it’s difficult to schedule. Rangers and Celtic play each other regularly enough, but often we have a game too. But I still cherish the idea, I would still love to visit an Old Firm game with my Feyenoord colleagues. I talked about it a lot, but the Glasgow derby cannot be expressed in words. You have to experience it. Hopefully it’ll happen one day.’
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