Celtic hero Virgil van Dijk makes Glasgow Derby claim

Leeds United v Liverpool - Premier League
Leeds United v Liverpool - Premier League / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

It has been a long time since Virgil van Dijk played for Celtic. He joined the club back in 2013 from FC Groningen and was the farthest thing from a household name back then. Over the next two years, he proved himself not only in Scotland but also in Europe and ended up joining Southampton in a £13 million move in 2015.

There is not much left to say about how his career has turned out since then. Van Dijk established himself as one of the most highly regarded centre-backs in the Premier League at Southampton before joining Liverpool in a £75 million move.

Many had raised their eyebrows at the transfer fee, which was a world record for a centre-back back then. But Van Dijk has proven to be worth every penny and then some. He has won everything at Liverpool, been an integral part of their Renaissance under the managment of Jurgen Klopp and is considered one of the beat defenders in the history of the game.

It is clear that Van Dijk clearly has fond memories from his time at Celtic Park and of the Glasgow Derby. As reported by GIVEMESPORT, the Dutchman said on The Rest Is Football podcast:

"I played it once. They were in the Championship back then, they weren't in the top-flight. We played a semi-final at Hampden and I would say the whole preparations and the meetings with police for example before the game to get you ready was more intense than the actual game. But it’s a special game.

"The city is divided with the two clubs and it’s amazing to have played it at least once. It’s an intense battle but at the time when I was there, it was more intense outside the game than the actual game. It was amazing, we really enjoyed it over there. We met some amazing people that we're still in touch with. The city in general was very bubbly, it's amazing. We just enjoyed it.

"Of course, you come across some fans of the other team but the same goes here in Liverpool. It's still sort of respectful, in a way. The fans from the other team that you come across, they are very fanatic about their team but it’s still in a respectful way in the way they approach you.

“To be able to go to Celtic to play for such a big club, because people don't realise how massive Celtic is, but to play the Champions League first season, and Europa League second season, for me was the perfect development. Then, I felt ready for the next step and the next step in that case was Southampton."

Celtic hero Virgil van Dijk makes Glasgow Derby claim

Despite spending a couple of seasons playing for Celtic, Van Dijk got to face the Rangers only once. That is because the Ibrox club were in the lower divisions of Scottish football back then while the Hoops were on their legendary 9IAR run.

Of course, we are heading into one of the most important Glasgow Derbies in a long time this weekend. It could have a major impact on the league title race.

Things are very tight between Celtic and the Rangers right now. Whoever wins this weekend at Ibrox will take a major step towards the league trophy.