Pierre van Hooijdonk stunned by last night's Celtic Park atmosphere
There were plenty of familiar faces at Celtic Park last night, and among them was former Hoops and Holland striker Pierre van Hooijdonk.
The ex-Feyenoord and Fenerbache striker, famous for his obscenely good free kicks, took it all in last night amongst 60,000 rambunctious Celtic supporters. As atmospheres go, this one was absolute electric, and without away fans in attendance, there were more eager Hoops supporters filling the seats.
Signed by Tommy Burns in 1995, van Hooijdonk scored the goal that sealed Celtic’s first piece of silverware in the 90s. He scored goals prolifically, 44 league goals all told [Celtic Wiki], but left under something a cloud. The Dutchman would end up forcing a move to Nottingham Forest, as part of a nomadic career.
However, he clearly still holds an affection for the Green and White. He’s been tweeting his pictures from the game, and the best is of the Huddle in the resplendent green of the Paradise lights:
“No words needed” indeed. Van Hooijdonk also shared a post-match video, with the supporters singing along to Oasis hit ‘Roll With It’, a late 90s staple and perhaps the theme song of stopping Rangers’ 10 in 97-98.
What a night he chose to come back to Celtic Park. As you’re well aware by now, Celtic absolutely blew away Rangers last night, urged on by an incredible home support. The pre-match rituals were all there, but with excellent flourishes.
The traditional rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ went on well into the first minute of the game, while the light show before the game incorporated the Huddle. Given the occasion, the little touches made a huge difference. But if you put those supporters in any environment, it’d be inherently special.
Pierre van Hooijdonk soaks up Celtic Park atmosphere
It’s good fun seeing van Hooijdonk back at Paradise. Yes, the way he left the club wasn’t ideal, but he was part of an electrifying front three in his time at Celtic.
Alongside Jorge Cadete and Paolo Di Canio, he was part of the Three Amigos, a short-lived but much-loved attacking triumvirate. Nowadays, it’s Jota, Kyogo and Abada earning comparisons to the adored 90s frontline.
There’s certainly an argument that this is the purest, most attacking team since the Tommy Burns side that van Hooijdonk featured in.
Given the tributes post-match to Wim Jansen, there was a real 90s feel to proceedings. It’s hard not to think back to a Paul Lambert-inspired derby victory in 97-98, when Celtic landed a significant blow in the title race. The parallels are there.
Here’s hoping van Hooijdonk enjoyed himself. He certainly seemed to, along with everyone in attendance last night.