Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink reminisces about emotional league win for Tommy Burns

By John McGinley

February 17, 2020

Former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has been reminiscing about the Hoops’ emotional 2007/08 title win this week, speaking to The Sunday Post.

The Dutch forward scored the winning goal against Dundee United at Tannadice on the final night of the season, ensuring that Celtic lifted a third league title in a row after a dramatic season.

At one point massively adrift of Rangers, the Hoops rallied to beat Walter Smith’s twice at Celtic Park to help close the gap and pip them to the trophy.

It was also a heartbreaking period for Celtic, with legendary former player, manager and coach Tommy Burns passing away close to the end of the campaign.

Memorably the title win was devoted to Burns, with emotional moments between manager Gordon Strachan and his squad aired live from Tannadice.

Vennegoor of Hesselink has spoken very fondly of the great man, telling The Sunday Post: “Walter Smith’s team were in really good form and, points wise, we had some catching up to do. They were the clear favourites. But beating them twice at Parkhead was vital and I got one of the winning goals in the last minute.

“That gave us tremendous belief. We kept going and eventually won it that night at Tannadice.

“It was also the week that Tommy Burns passed away. He had been ill for a while but we never forgot about him. It felt as though he was always with us, and we made sure the title win was dedicated to him.

“He was a great Celtic man and a fantastic person.”

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink celebrates Celtic title win / (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

That title win in 2008 was so important given the context of everything that surrounded it and Vennegoor of Hesselink stood out as one of the performers who would stand up and produce when it really counted.

The 19-cap Netherlands international scored 16 goals that season for the Hoops, his best return while at the club, becoming something of a cult hero with supporters in the time since.

His memorable goals against United and in the final seconds of a derby win over Rangers have secured his legacy as a popular figure with fans.

That he still speaks so fondly of the club is brilliant to see too.