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Van Dijk focused on Ajax clash


Injury woe: Kris Commons was replaced after pulling up

Injury woe: Kris Commons was replaced after pulling up


Injury woe: Kris Commons was replaced after pulling up

Hibs 1 Celtic 1: Virgil van Dijk will not allow the presence of Holland boss Louis van Gaal at Celtic's Champions League clash with Ajax at Parkhead tomorrow to put him under any extra pressure.

Van Gaal is reportedly preparing a trip to Glasgow to scout the Hoops defender, who admits it would be a "dream" to play for his country, whom he has represented at Under-21 level.

However, the 22-year-old, who signed a four-year deal after joining from FC Groningen in the summer for a fee reported to be around £2.5m, is focusing solely on helping the Scottish champions get their first points of their Group H campaign.

Speaking after Celtic's 1-1 Scottish Premiership draw with Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday, where Paul Heffernan's opener was cancelled out after the break by Hoops substitute James Forrest, who came on for the injured Kris Commons, Van Dijk said: "I just want to play my own game and not put any more pressure on myself or my game.

"If he (Van Gaal) is coming then it will be great, of course, but I still want to play a good game just for myself and we will see what happens.

"It is definitely a dream to play for the national team.

"There are a lot of good players but I have never been invited for the first team of Holland so I have never had to think about it."

The big Dutchman enjoyed the lunchtime tussle with Hibs even though it left manager Neil Lennon angry at the home side's tactics.

The Northern Irishman, to the surprise of most in the media room, described some of the tackling, among other things, as "shocking" and "reckless" but Van Dijk said: "No, I didn't think it was too physical.

"Some of the challenges definitely (were tough) but we played a very good game. We should have scored more, but we didn't lose."

Belfast Telegraph