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Former Arsenal player says Celtic's Van Dijk is as good as Koscielny

Van Dijk is highly thought of. Credit: PA

Celtic's Virgil van Dijk should be targeting a move to one of England's top six clubs if he quits Parkhead this summer, according to former Hoops striker John Hartson.

The £12million-rated Dutch defender has been linked with Barclays Premiership high-flyers Arsenal and Southampton following another season of classy displays.

I like big Virgil. I think he's the full package. He's quick, he can leap and defensively he is sound.

Celtic did fantastically to keep hold of him in the summer. It was a fantastic bit of business by Ronny Deila, who no doubt has had a word in his ear and told him: 'If you give me another year to 18 months, then you can have your move'.

He will keep improving with Celtic and in time, he will become a top-class centre-half that a lot of clubs will be interested in.

We've seen a lot of players leave Celtic but end up with clubs at the bottom end of the Premiership.

Now the question is, would a club like Manchester City trust him to be playing in big games domestically and in the Champions League every week? Or is he someone who is more suited to being at a club like Swansea, Newcastle or West Ham, where you are playing in that middle half of the table?

Is he top notch? Is he as good as the Laurent Koscielny's of this world?

I think he is. I think he is a top-six Premier League player. I really do.

– Former Arsenal player John Hartson.


Celtic manager finds English football boring

Celtic boss Ronny Deila has offered up a stout defence of the Scottish game by claiming its English counterpart often bores him in comparison.

Deila prefers the atmosphere at Scottish grounds. Credit: PA

Speaking at Celtic's Lennoxtown training complex ahead of the trip to St Johnstone on Saturday, Deila noted the increase of money into the game south of the border.

However, the former Stromsgodset boss stated enthusiastically that he has been impressed with that he has witnessed so far in Scottish football, including the atmosphere in the Hoops' Scottish League Cup semi-final win over rivals Rangers at Hampden earlier in the month.

I think we should be more proud of it (the game in Scotland). The interest here is phenomenal. It is something special. When you go to Celtic games away, the fans are fantastic.

I have been many times to England and I am bored compared with what's happening here in the stands sometimes.

The game against Rangers is special. They don't have that. I have been at United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and it's not near the atmosphere there was in that game.

– Celtic manager Ronny Deila

Ten year-old injured by Celtic fan before Old Firm derby

A ten year-old boy suffered a hairline fracture and had three teeth knocked out by a bottle thrown before Sunday's Old Firm derby.

The ten year-old boy didn't make it to his first game. Credit: PA

Police in Glasgow are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the incident on Cathcart Road.

The young Rangers supporter was in a minibus on the way to his first match when a group of Celtic fans surrounded the vehicle and directed abuse at passengers.

It appears that the bottle was deliberately thrown at the minibus, although not necessarily aimed at the young boy, who missed the match after being rushed to hospital

Detective Constable Kenneth MacEwan said:

This was an appalling assault on the boy who was with his dad and fellow supporters going to his first Celtic v Rangers game.

He never got to the match but instead was detained overnight in hospital and has a facial injury and teeth missing.

– Detective Constable Kenneth MacEwan

Celtic players celebrate in front of Rangers fans

Celtic cruised through to the Scottish League Cup final with a 2-0 win over Rangers at Hampden Park on a day when the gulf between the two traditional rivals was laid bare.

Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring for Celtic. Credit: Reuters

Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths headed the Premiership leaders into the lead from a Stefan Johansen cross in the 10th minute with Kris Commons driving in a second on the half-hour mark to effectively seal their place against Dundee United on March 15.

It was a comfortable victory for Ronny Deila's side in the first meeting between the teams in almost three years since the Ibrox club re-emerged in the bottom tier of Scottish football following administration and liquidation.

But when the final whistle sounded, Hoops keeper Craig Gordon had not made a save.


Police issue crackdown warning to Old Firm fans

Celtic and Rangers will face each other for the first time in almost three years today, with police warning supporters they will crackdown on any signs of trouble.

Celtic and Rangers will face each other for the first time in almost three years. Credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

The League Cup semi-final match at Hampden Park in Glasgow is a sell-out and will have an international TV audience with 54 countries screening the game.

Tensions are set to be high in what is the first game between the clubs since Rangers' liquidation in 2012 and both clubs have been visited by Police Scotland to remind players and management of their responsibilities in a bid to minimise any possibility of trouble.

Officers have said they will be monitoring social media as well as having an increased presence on streets in and around Glasgow.

Police will be deployed at the stadium, in Glasgow city centre and at major transport hubs before, during and after the match.

Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, the match commander, said: "I am sure that most supporters will enjoy the sporting occasion, however a minority may choose to cause disorder and my message to them is clear: anyone involved in disorder will be arrested."

Deila praises 'world class' Celtic striker Griffiths

Celtic manager Ronny Deila praised the "world-class" ability of Leigh Griffiths as he revealed that another striker, John Guidetti, had delayed talks over his long-term future.

World class? Credit: Reuters

Griffiths has started the last two games - his first starts in the Scottish Premiership since August - and rewarded Deila with a goal in Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Motherwell, which sent the Hoops top of the league.

There is big competition up front and it's also about the opponents we meet but Leigh has made improvement in a lot of things. He looks sharper now and needs even more confidence.

I believe in him. I think he's a very exciting player and his left foot is world-class, I've not seen any player have a better left foot in my life.

– Celtic manager Ronny Deila
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