Tag Archives: Celtic

Ajax’s great Danes saves a point against ten men Celtic






Ajax’s 500th game inside the Amsterdam ArenA did not go to plan this evening as Frank de Boer’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by Scottish champions Celtic writes Will Burns.

Celtic, who had failed to score in their last two European away games notched twice. Their boss Ronny Deila, who spent time at Ajax studying their tactics and training methods during his time as Strømsgodset boss, left Amsterdam with a sense of pride clinching an excellent 2-2 draw, ending the game with just ten men.

Frank de Boer picked a young side without experienced heads Ricardo van Rhijn and Lasse Schöne

Highly-rated Israeli midfielder Nir Bitton has a history with Ajax – the last time he played the Amsterdammers, he was shown the red card in last year’s Europa League clash. Tonight proved to be a better experience.

Within seven minutes Bitton put the Scottish champions ahead after an awful midfield mix up from Daley Sinkgraven and Jairo Riedewald. Kris Commons intelligently collected the ball and fed to Biton to place the ball comfortably past Jasper Cillessen.

The home side failed to get going in the first twenty minutes, the midfield failing to link up and the wingers being stopped in their tracks by Mikaël Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre however on 24 minutes the game was levelled.

It was a great team goal by Ajax and great finish from 25 yards out by Viktor Fischer to score for his second consecutive game. Lustig failed to stop the emerging Amin Younes, the German played into Davy Klaassen on the edge of the box and he played a cute back-heel into the path of the Dane who finished coolly past Craig Gordon, making it 1-1.

The goal gave De Godenzonen confidence however after failing to create any clear cut chances, Celtic were ahead again before half-time. Manager Ronny Delia defended his side in a pre-match interview after being accused at failing to deal with set-pieces in the last few matches; he stated “tonight, maybe we will score from a set-piece?”

Well he was not wrong. Commons hit a flat corner into the area and the unmarked Lustig nodded home. Dreadful defending by Ajax, which was disappointing after gaining a foothold in the match since notching the equaliser.

Celtic fans celebrated wildly during the break with an obvious hidden agenda as De Boer played alongside his twin brother Ronald for Celtic’s bitter rivals Glasgow Rangers in 2004, and the Hoops fans revelled in leading the game in particular.

The second half was a torrid affair with either keeper having nothing to do and after De Boer brought some changes into his side, Ajax’s fortunes changed as Celtic left-back Emilio Izaguirre was dismissed for two bookings.

Attacking options Arek Milik and Lasse Schöne were introduced as the Amsterdam crowd got more and more restless with twenty minutes to go, Ajax started to press Celtic with some impact.

With ten to go, the overall quiet Anwar El Ghazi whipped a wonderful pinpoint cross into Milik’s head but unfortunately for the Polish international his effort scraped the inside of the post and bounced out.

Next the chance we saw was the other substitute Schöne finding the levelling goal – from a set-piece. The Danish midfielder floated a free-kick into the area from the left and it missed everyone and ended up past Gordon in the net.

Again, Schöne was involved in the dying minutes as he Milik combined and the Pole nodded over when it was easier to score. It was a poor performance from De Boer’s men and his team selection may be criticised due to the lack of experience – that eventually turned the game around for them – a lucky draw.


AJAXCillessen – Tete, Veltman, Riedewald, Dijks – Sinkgraven (Serero 62), Gudelj, Fischer (Schöne 75) – El Ghazi, Klaassen, Younes (Milik 62).

GOALS: Fischer 25, Schöne 84.

BOOKINGS: Serero 89.

CELTIC: Gordon – Lustig (Ambrose 69), Boyata, Simunovic, Izaguirre – Brown, Bitton – Forrest (Blackett 75), Johansen, Commons (Janko 83) – Griffiths.

GOALS: Bitton 8, Lustig 42.

BOOKINGS: Izaguirre 56, Lustig 64, Johansen 68.

SENT OFF: Izaguirre 74.


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com





In a battle of two historic giants of European football, Ajax play host to Scottish champions Celtic on Thursday in the first game of UEFA Europa League Group A, Will Burns is on hand with a full lowdown on Ronny Deila’s men.

CelticNo stranger to European competition, Glasgow-based club Celtic hold the moniker of being the first British club to have won the European Cup defeating Inter Milan in the final in May 1967. Domestically, The Hoops have clinched a grand total of 46 Scottish League titles and the Scottish F.A. Cup on 36 occasions, while lifting the League Cup a total of 15 times.

In the 1966-67 European Cup winning season, Celtic enjoyed their most successful year when it comes to silverware which will possibly never ever be repeated. Not only claiming European football’s most coveted prize but winning the League title, the Scottish F.A. Cup, the League Cup and the lesser-known Glasgow Cup.

After dispatching the threat of Aberdeen last season on the way to lifting the League title once again, Champions League qualification was a mist for the Scottish giants. However, a disappointing qualification campaign in pre-season in which Scottish clubs wade through three sets of qualifiers before clinching as group stage spot, Celtic fell at the final hurdle. A 5-0 aggregate win over Icelandic champions KR Reykjavík meant Celtic must face their conquers from the 2013/14 qualifiers, Polish side Legia Warsaw. After crashing to a 4-1 defeat away in Warsaw, Ronny Deila’s men hit Legia with a 3-0 defeat to emerge to the playoff on away goals. NK Maribor stood in Celtic’s way of the group stages and unfortunately for The Bhoys after holding the Slovenian champions to a 1-1 draw, they failed to clinch the spot after Maribor captain Tavares notched the only goal of the game.

Deila now has to prepare Celtic for another Europa League run after his first one ended in a valiant, but failed effort (4-3 on aggregate) last season with a last sixteen defeat to their 1966/67 final opponents Inter Milan.


The defending Scottish Premiership champions dropped two points to their closest rivals Aberdeen on Saturday lunchtime. What made things worse was that The Dons were down to ten-men when The Bhoys conceded the fatal second goal in a 2-1 defeat.

The result will have been a bitter blow to the confidence of Ronny Deila and his squad and Ajax and Frank de Boer may chomping at the bit, knowing this may be the perfect time to add more weight on The Hoops’ shoulders.

Celtic set up for Saturday’s game in a 4-2-3-1 formation and held the majority of the possession in the fierce but a close match at Pittodrie, however in front of goal is where they lost the game. Only three shots landed on target with eight sailing into the stands. The back four received a shake-up after Virgil van Dijk moved south to the Premier League in the transfer window so Tyler Blackett partnered Dedryck Boyata (pardon spelling in the below graphic) in the centre of the defence, wth Charlie Mulgrew on the left and the usually reliable Swedish right-back Mikael Lustig slotting into his normal position, although he did not appear comfortable dealing with Aberdeen’s crosses.

Celtic like to use a long ball from the back to send speedy striker Leigh Griffiths on his way racing onto goal, which is how the opener came about. Left-back Charlie Mulgrew launched a ball over the top of the Aberdeen back four onto Griffiths chest and Reds defender Andrew Considine pulled back the striker to give away a penalty. Griffiths converted for his ninth goal of the season.

150914 - Celtic

However, Aberdeen were encouraged by some slack passing by Boyata, and gradually claimed a foothold to fight back and grab an equaliser through a spot-kick of their own after the Belgian defender bundled Graham Shinnie over in the area in what was an unnecessary challenge. Adam Rooney stepped up to level the game up.

Tempers flared, as they do between these sides and Jonny Hayes was dismissed on 72 minutes for rash challenge on Lustig. Defensive frailties were unveiled in the dying seconds when Celtic simply failed to defend a free-kick that allowed Paul Quinn, unmarked, to head home the winner and send Aberdeen top of the Scottish Premiership with a game in hand.


A relatively young manager at only 39 years of age, former Norwegian defender Deila took over the reins at Parkhead in June last year after being very successful in his homeland with Strømsgodset, winning the Tippeligaen before leaving for Glasgow.

Quite the fan favourite for Hoops fans after just over a year in the job, Deila lead Celtic to a League and League Cup double but after failing to qualify for the Champions League football this year, the critics were out in force, pondering whether or not he is up for the job.

KEY PLAYER: Stefan Johansen

Strangely enough, Stefan Johansen arrived from Strømsgodset before Ronny Deila joined Celtic, then-manager Neil Lennon paid a £2 million fee for the midfielder. That price, after just over a year at the club, looks to be a absolute snip as Johansen has excelled and won acclaim for fans and the press for his performances in the League and Europe last term.

The 24-year old, Johansen is a technical, smart central midfielder with tremendous awareness for a pass. The left-footer’s range of passing is impressive and also a real threat from free-kicks. At Celtic he is played with as a creative playmaker in the middle of the park but can also be at home in a deep-lying role when protecting a lead.

Johansen will be have to be closely marked by Frank de Boer’s midfield with youngster Riechedly Bazoer or the experienced Nemanja Gudelj will have the task of keeping the Norwegian under control – both will have their hands full.


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Saints keen to seal £8m million deal for Celtic’s Van Dijk

  • Southampton are keen to sign defender Virgil van Dijk from Celtic this summer as they look too shore up their defence.
  • The Dutchman is likely to seek pastures new after his side was knocked out of the Champions League by Swedish side Malmo.
  • It is understood that Ronald Koeman is monitoring the situation and is set to offer £8 million for the 24 year-old.
  • The St. Mary’s side have previously been linked with Sven Van Beek and Terence Kongolo two versatile defenders who currently play for Koeman’s previous club Feyenoord in the Eredivisie.

Southampton are keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk from Scottish Champions Celtic for £8 million, which looks likely to happen before the end of the transfer window on Tuesday.  The Dutch centre back is said to favour a move away from Parkhead after his side were recently knocked out the Champions League by Swedish side Malmo in their recent qualifier on Tuesday night. The Dutch International has stated: “It’s a terrible way if it ends like this but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The defender is also thought to of known about the speculation regarding a move to the South Coast, but when asked he stated: “I can’t say anything. I think you need to ask the board. I don’t know what will happen in the coming days. Celtic is an amazing club and I’m very thankful for everything they have done for me.”

Van Dijk was signed in 2013 by Celtic for a fee of around £2.5 million, from FC Groningen were he spent a full season, before moving to Ronny Delia’s side on a four-year deal. At 6ft 4ins he has the physical stature to deal with the rigours of Premier League football.

He was part of the defence that went 1,215 minutes without conceding a goal, breaking the 43-year-old Scottish League record set by Aberdeen’s keeper Bobby Clark. Van Dijk has also won Celtic’s player of the year award for 2014.

With Toby Alderweireld signing for Tottenham Hotspur and Sven Van Beek along with Terence Kongolo interest cooling, boss Ronald Koeman will be looking to get the deal over line as soon as possible.

Arsenal and Swansea have also been linked with the defender in recent times. It is thought that the defender may prefer the switch to Southampton after Fraser Forster and Victor Wanyama have both made the move to the Saints from Celtic.


Click on Sam’s name above to follow him on Twitter.

Contrary to the Dutch philosophy; the Oranje backline seems evident for silverware

The key to being successful in ‘The Beautiful Game’ is defense; as the old saying goes “Offense wins games, Defense wins championships”. For ‘Oranje’, the latter seems to always take a back seat, but with defensive clubs such as Chelsea and Juventus having remarkable success, maybe it is time for the Netherlands to change their perspective. With talented young defenders moving up through the ranks of their respective clubs, there could be a new horizon for the Netherlands. So here is a look at a few promising defenders that could take Holland from contender to champions.  Thomas Tittley writes…


The 23-year-old defender for Celtic has flourished in the Scottish Premiership and is now ready to move on, as he has been linked to both Everton and Southampton. Van Dijk has dominated the Scottish league and while some sceptics will claim it is a rather weak league, he has proven his talents by playing exceptionally well in Europe.  Van Dijk is a tall 6-foot-3 (1.93m), and is a bull on defense, using his size and strength and athleticism to overpower attacking players. Capable of muscling strong center forwards off the ball, while having the pace to keep up with quick and shifty wingers, Van Dijk averaged 0.7 tackles a game in Europe. Virgil has also shown his aptitude tactically as well, averaging an outstanding 3.4 interceptions a game in. To put that into perspective, Chelsea, one of the top defensive teams in England, averaged a total of 9.8 per game. Hopefully for Van Dijk, and Dutch fans, he will soon get his first international cap and be a part of a winning culture.


The young central defender from Lazio has been a part of the Netherlands senior squad for a number of years now as the 23-year-old has already made 27 appearances, even wearing the captain’s armband during Holland’s friendly against Spain on March 31st after Sneijder left the pitch. He impressed during the bronze medal World Cup run as he appeared in every match that Holland played, even scoring the third goal of the 5-1 thrashing that the Netherlands handed Spain in the first game. This is proof that De Vrij is highly respected within the dressing room and by the coaching staff. Fortunately, it is not only his leadership and poise that are his desired attributes, his skill on the football pitch is evident. Like Van Dijk he is also rarely caught out of position, averaging 3.6 interceptions a game and 6.1 clearances a game, comparing that to the legendary Sergio Ramos, who only averaged 2.4 interceptions and 3.9 clearances, De Vrij’s numbers are extraordinary. If Holland are to succeed, De Vrij will have to continue to show his skills on the pitch and in the dressing room.


If you could create a left-back in a simulator, it would be Jetro Willems, a player with dynamic pace able to bomb forward and harass defences, while still able to track back and help his own back line. It is that dynamic pace that leaves managers around the world salivating over his potential. Not only does the young man possess vast amounts of pace, but the ability to pick a pass. The electrifying winger linked up well with now former teammate Memphis Depay to create a devastating left wing attack, and when able to get by a defender, possesses great quality in his left foot and whip in crosses to devastating effect. Willems accumulated a staggering thirtheen assists this season in the Eredivisie, second most behind only Hakim Ziyech. To put that into perspective, the closest defender to that assist total was Bart van Hintum with 7, which put him tied for 14th in the league. But with his partner Depay gone, there is much speculation that Willems could also be headed out of the Eredivisie. Young Willems surprisingly made the 2012 Euro cup squad and even played in a handful of games, although nothing extraordinary. He has improved drastically since then, particularly attacking-wise, and will look to be the long-term left back for the Oranje in the future.


Janmaat was a Dutchman who had a bit of a coming out party during the 2014-2015 season with Newcastle United. The 25-year-old right back moved from Feyenoord last season and struggled early on trying to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League, but he eventually settled in and became one of Newcastle’s only consistent players. A very attacking right-back, Janmaat is strong in the tackle and has a sharp eye for making key passes that dissect opposing defences. Daryl totalled six assists this season, impressive for a right-back, particularly one that had an incredibly stagnant offense like Newcastle. Something Janmaat specializes in is the long pass, making 2.1 long passes a game, crucial for a team trying to attack when transitioning from defence to offense. This type of pass is particularly effective when wingers who possess immense amounts of pace are on the receiving end of the pass. With players who possess this type of speed such as Arjen Robben, Memphis Depay, Quincy Promes, Eljero Elia and Jeremain Lens available, the long pass could be the difference between winning and losing. Fortunately, Janmaat also takes care of his defensive responsibilities, tallying 2.8 tackles a game, tied for 20th in the entire Premier League, remarkable for a player more known for his ability to dribble at defenders and attacking flare. Janmaat could be the key that unlocks the treasure chest of trophies available for the Netherlands in the years to come.

These young men will have to continue to develop and improve if Holland wish to become truly elite and finally win that ever elusive World Cup.


Click on Thomas’ name above to follow him on Twitter.

Southampton interest for Celtic defender

While Gus Poyet sent scouts to watch Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk, it appears the Dutchman is keen to team up with countryman Ronald Koeman at Southampton. It seems a prerequisite to declaring interest in the 23-year-old is that your club name starts with the letter S, with Swansea, Sunderland and now Southampton in the mix.

Celtic are looking for £10 million for their man, a figure that has scared away teams who enquired previously but with the Dejan Lovren to Liverpool rumours that just won’t go away and a decent transfer budget being handed to Koeman, he has van Dijk in his sights as a replacement for the Croatian if he leaves.

Koeman is desperate to hold on to the services of Lovren, but has stated that if he is to leave then only the healthiest of bids will suffice. The new Dutch boss also believed he has a capable replacement in the form of van Dijk, and with the Dutch connection, it is believed to be a move that both parties are keen on.


Click on Robbie’s name above to follow him on Twitter.

Sunderland chase Celtic defender

According to today’s Daily Record, the latest Dutchman to be linked to the Premier League currently plies his trade in Scotland in the heart of Glasgow Celtic’s defence. 23-year-old Virgil van Dijk has been scouted by Sunderland ahead of a possible bid that would probably need to far exceed the £2.6 million that his current team paid FC Groningen for his services.

In his first season at Parkhead, he won the Player of the Year award and has impressed largely since his summer move last year. Swansea were previously linked to the big centre-half, but were scared off by his hefty price tag placed on him by Celtic, who are in no hurry to sell the constantly improving defender.

After a deal for Ashley Williams fell through, the Black Cats manager Gus Poyet seems keen on van Dijk to fill a void left by the release of Carlos Cueller and Andrea Dossena in their defense. The aging Wes Brown and John O’Shea are currently holding down the fort but a young aggressive defender who can score goals would be perfect for a team in transition and Gus Poyet seems keen to make that happen if his recent scouting is anything to go by.

Van Dijk began his career at FC Groningen where he appeared 62 times scoring seven times, and moved to Glasgow in 2013 where he appeared for Celtic 36 times scoring five times.


Click on Robbie’s name above to follow him on Twitter.

Celtic set to lose commanding defender?


Celtic’s Dutch central defender Virgil van Dijk is set to leave the Scottish Premiership champions at the end of the season according to his agent, Henk-Maarten Chin.

The 22-year old has been a revelation in the Celtic defence this season since his £2.6 million summer move from FC Groningen last year.

Due to his success he has been linked with a move away throughout the season with a host of Barclays Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City waiting in the wings to take the big Dutchman to the North-West of England.

Yesterday, his agent, Henk-Maarten Chin, stated that the Celtic defender could certainly be leaving Parkhead in the summer, although he did admit no club has bid so far.

Speaking to the Scotsman, Chin said: “There is certainly interest. Many English clubs are interested in him – many top clubs. They watch him and are very keen but there has been no official approach for Virgil yet, but that will come after the season ends.

“There’s certainly far more interest in him than we could have dreamed of and I expect something will happen for him this summer.”

“Celtic were completely outplayed by Barcelona, but Virgil was the only player who was OK and against AC Milan, he made a great impression in his battles against a top player like Mario Balotelli.”

The player is yet to comment on his agent’s words but one thing is for sure, it is every player’s dream to play for his country and since Van Dijk’s move to Scotland, he has been overlooked by Oranje coach Louis van Gaal despite the defender’s incredible form.

Van Gaal has been selecting young Eredivisie defenders like Ajax’s Joel Veltman, Feyenoord’s pair Stefan de Vrij and Terence Kongolo, PSV’s Jeffrey Bruma and Karim Rekik while these five players have showed weaknesses all season that Virgil has not.

Anyone who watched the Eredivisie last season will be shocked by Van Dijk’s exclusion in the Dutch squad but will not be surprised by the interest shown in him by other clubs. In fact I remember writing at the start of the season, my shock that this player chose Celtic to advance his career.

No disrespect to Scottish champions, as I am fully aware of the massive size and support of the club but I honestly thought a move to the Premiership, where the big money and the vast exposure is available for players, would have suited Van Dijk and especially his agent better.


Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Ajax get tough draw


The Eredivisie defending champions Ajax have been drawn into the glamour group along with Barcelona, AC Milan and Glasgow Celtic.

20130818 - Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord

Progress from Group H will be a tough task for Frank de Boer’s side, especially after the impending departures of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld this week.

The group is highlighted by Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, who will look to re-establish their European dominance under the new leadership of Argentine coach Gerardo Martino. It will be up to the new boss to guide the Blaugrana past Scottish champions Celtic. Neil Lennon’s side memorably upset Barca 2-1 in last season’s group stage last November with a dramatic late goal from Tony Watt.

PSV’s playoff conquers AC Milan will face Barca in a repeat of last year’s last sixteen clash, where the Spanish giants roared back from a 2-0 first leg loss to score four goals in the second leg and win 4-2 on aggregate.

The Group Stage matches will take place over the course of six matchdays beginning September 17th and concluding on December 11th. The top two teams from each Group will move on to the Round of 16, while the third place side will drop into the Europa League and the fourth placed club will be eliminated from European competition.

The Round of 16 will be played over two legs in February and March 2014, with the winners continuing on to a two-legged Quarterfinal in early April. The winners will march on to the Semifinals, which will be played in late April, before the winners head to the final at the Estadio de Luz in Lisbon, Portugal on May 24th, 2014.



Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Boerrigter wings his way into Celtic

Scottish champions Celtic signed their second Dutchman of the summer tonight as Derk Boerrigter arrived from Eredivisie champions Ajax on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The left winger is available and may make his debut in tomorrow night’s Champions League qualifying match against Elfsborg of Sweden.

The 26-year-old spent his youth career at FC Twente, where he was spotted by Ajax and joined the Amsterdam giants for the first time as a teenager. Following a loan spell at the now-defunct HFC Haarlem, in which he made his competitive debut, he made the move to FC Zwolle on a free transfer when his contract had expired.

After benefiting from first-team football on a regular basis, Boerrigter flourished at Zwolle, attracting interest from several clubs in his homeland. The then-newly-promoted RKC Waalwijk won the race for his signature and he signed for them in the summer of 2009. His impressive displays for RKC persuaded Ajax to swoop for his services for a second time two years ago, and he quickly hit top form in Amsterdam to earn his first call-up to the Dutch national side in November 2011.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is delighted that he was signed the flying Dutchman and he stated that Boerrigter is exactly the type of player the Hoops have been searching for.

“He’s been the type of player we’ve been after for quite a while,” he said to Celtic’s official website “He’s a very pacy, left-footed player. He’s direct, an eliminator. He has goals in him as well, left-foot and right-foot. He’s very powerful and I think he fits the bill of the type of player we have been looking for in that position.

Lennon continued: “He has good experience and has played at a high level for the last two or three years, and has contributed with for a number of goals. He has been playing in a quality side in a quality environment.”

Here’s a feature video courtesy of Fox Sports NL with a few clips on what Celtic fans may expect from Boerrigter…



Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutch.wordpress.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Van Dijk joins Celtic

In a major coup for the Glasgow club, Netherlands Under-21 centre-back Virgil van Dijk has signed a four-year contract with Scottish champions Celtic.

The highly sought 21-year-old has joined in a £2.6m deal from FC Groningen, for whom he made 37 appearances last season, with a 10% sell-on fee for the Dutch club.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon stated: “Delighted that we have acquired Virgil van Dijk… a highly talented young player.”

Virgil van Dijk – the big centre-back has signed a four-year deal at Scottish champions Celtic

Van Dijk moved to FC Groningen from Willem II in 2011 and had two years left on his contract at Groningen, and the young defender stated his delight in signing for the SPL champions and looking for to playing in the Champions League.

“Celtic is the biggest club in Scotland and they also play in the Champions League,” he said. “They’re a fantastic club and when Celtic came in for me I was so excited. Everything here is good so I can’t wait to get started.”

Standing at a massive 6ft 4inches, Van Dijk should fit right in the rough and tumbles of the SPL: “I hope to play many games for my country in the future but first of all I want to make things happen here. I’m a strong defender and I’m good in the air, but I also like to play football on the ground, and I hope that we’ll do even better than we did last season. I think I can bring something extra to the team and we will see how it works out. I’m ready for everything. I love to play football but I do love getting into duels.”

The pull of Champions League football seems to be the main reason the Jong Oranje defender has joined The Hoops and the Champions League qualifying draw will be made on 24 June, with Celtic’s first match scheduled for 19th or 20th July.



Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutch.wordpress.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com