CELTIC'S second game of the season saw the Bhoys head to Firhill, where they took on Partick Thistle and finished up with a convincing 2-0 win.
To the surprise of many, Australian Tom Rogic appeared on Ronny Deila’s starting XI. It’s the first time we have seen him since September 2013 when former Celtic manager Neil Lennon was still in charge.
But what an impression the 22-year-old made, scoring a pretty decent flick after just 28 minutes. I didn’t actually appreciate the standard of the goal until I saw the replay, but, credit where it’s due, what a way to reintroduce yourself to the fans.
The second goal came from Kris Commons in the 63rd minute – a stunning chip over keeper Tomas Cerny to see Celtic take the three points and make it two wins from two this season.
With Ronny’s favourite frontman Nadir Ciftci suspended, fans were delighted to see another start for Leigh Griffiths. Scott Brown’s hamstring issue saw him out of this one while Ronny was forced to make an early substitution when midfielder Stuart Armstrong came off after just 20 minutes with a groin injury.
Although Celtic dominated the game, Thistle fans did give a roar for a possible handball in the first half when David Wilson’s volley in the box appeared to strike the arm of captain Mikael Lustig.
Referee John Beaton waved away all appeals and rightly so, although I found it highly entertaining to hear the blinkered views of the BT Sports pundits, especially Stephen Craigan, who disagreed with the referee over his decision.
The fact Lustig had his back to the ball didn’t seem enough of a reason to prove there was no intent, I mean, seriously? Former Celtic player Chris Sutton and game commentator waded in on the discussion, branding anyone who claimed it was a penalty ‘ridiculous’ – quite right.
Although the attention focused around this incident at half-time, by the final whistle the fans’ main talking point on social media was all on one man. No, it wasn’t the ludicrous Partick Thistle mascot, it was Virgil Van Dijk.
The Dutch centre-back could be set to leave Parkhead very soon and his performance yesterday may well have seen Celtic add a couple of extra million onto his price tag.
He has now spent two seasons at Celtic and, if Ronny fails to keep him at the club for another, we should look to expect a significant return on the £2.6m we paid for him in 2013.
Virgil Van Dijk is worth more than boumsong and Hutton put together. Add it up... #CELTIC
— SHEV (@jamesShevlin67) August 10, 2015
Tyrone Mings, £8m to Bournemouth. James Chester, £8m to West Brom. No wonder Celtic think they can get £10-12m for Virgil van Dijk
— Tom English (@TomEnglishSport) August 3, 2015
Anything less than double figures would be an insult for van Dijk.
— Kieran Caw (@Kieran_Celtic) August 9, 2015
It opens the discussion of how much should Celtic expect? I put the question out there on Twitter yesterday evening and mentioned that I fear Celtic could be robbed, due to the fact VVD plays in Scotland.
The age-old argument will be ‘he isn’t playing at the highest of standards so how can you really judge?’
Anyone who has seen Van Dijk play week-in-week-out will appreciate the type of player he is and would agree that he would fit in with almost any English Premier League side.
As one Tweet stated: “A Rolls Royce is still a Rolls Royce no matter where it’s parked” – a nice analogy I thought.
— CelticVines (@Celtic_Vines) August 9, 2015
In a week where Chelsea made a bid in the region of £26m for Everton defender John Stones, we now have rival fans telling us their club won’t pay more than £8m for Van Dijk. In my opinion, if Stones warrants such a hefty price tag well then VVD must be worth the same if not more.
I mean for £8m you can get a player like Alan Hutton, so let’s not insult the lad. Many Celtic fans believe the club should do everything that they can to keep Van Dijk, especially with Champions League football looking more likely.
So, the question is, do Celtic hold out for the highest bid or do they do everything in their power to keep him? We’ll soon find out.