THE RECENT and ongoing speculation surrounding the possible signing by Celtic of former NAC Breda hit-man, Nadir Ciftci, has had me reminiscing about our acquisition twenty years ago of another striker from that unfashionable Dutch club.
Forget the controversy that dogged big Pierre van Hooijdonk’s brief and sometimes turbulent career in the Hoops … focus instead on the priceless memories of the majestic aerial prowess and explosive shooting power that lit up Celtic Park (and Hampden) to the sound of his name echoing eerily around the stands as he racked up an impressive 44 goals in 69 appearances.
Notable among those was, of course, the towering downward header from Tosh McKinlay’s raking cross, which sealed an edgy 1995 Scottish Cup Final against Airdrie, ending a depressing six-year trophy drought. That triumph turned out to be the only honour won as Celtic Captain and Manager respectively by Paul McStay and Tommy Burns. Respect to the big man for that alone, then, if nothing else.