“One of the great things for me in my career that I could play for Celtic,” Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink is the latest big name former Celtic star to be added to the line-up for the Celtic FC Foundation’s extra special legends match against Borussia Dortmund at Celtic Park on Sunday 26 May.

People always remember

“People always remember, whether that’s in Holland or elsewhere, that I played for Celtic,” the big Dutchman told the official Celtic FC website. “I played for the club for three years, won some trophies and had some success with the team, and we had some great experiences in the Champions League.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Champions League match between Celtic and Barcelona at Celtic Park on February 20, 2008. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

“And it says a lot that, although I played for many other clubs, everyone always talks about me being a Celtic player. That tells you about the magnitude of the club.”

His Tannadice header secured title for Celtic 

Vennegoor of Hesselink spent three years at Celtic after signing from PSV Eindhoven in 2006, making 108 appearances for Gordon Strachan’s Celtic side. Big Jan also scored 44 goals for the Hoops including of course that header at Tannadice in May 2008 which secured a most unlikely of title wins for the Hoops.

 Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink lifts the Premier League trophy after the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Hearts at Celtic Park on April 29, 2007 . (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

That league winning goal was extra special after the sad passing of Celtic’s much loved favourite son Tommy Burns. That header plus his last minute winner a few weeks earlier against Rangers at Celtic Park were perhaps Jan’s most famous moments in his three season at Celtic where he won two titles and both the Scottish Cup and the League Cup.

‘For me it’s just a privilege’

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink is certainly looking forward to once again pulling on the Hoops to play in front of the Celtic support at Paradise.

“For me it’s just a privilege to be part of the game. I was at Celtic Park recently and thought about the fact that I had played there on the pitch for three years. Now I’m just a supporter which is great, so now for me to play the game on 26 May is just an honour.

Celtic fans sing the Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink song outside Old Trafford before their Champions League match with Manchester United in 2006

“The game’s going to be fantastic and hopefully a lot of people will come, and, for me, it’s just a piece of my life that’s there and it will never leave me. It gives me great satisfaction to play in the game, to be back in Glasgow, to see the people again – and there are still a lot of people who work at the club who I know really well – so, for me, it’s also a little bit like coming home.

 Stephen McManus celebrates after scoring with Gary Caldwell and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Hearts at Celtic Park November 4, 2006. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

“It’s always nice to go back to Glasgow and if I want to have a good feeling, I just need to take the plane to Glasgow and it’s always good.”

‘Wherever I am in the world, I’ll see Celtic tops”

The big Dutchman added: “This is special for me because I played for a lot of clubs, and I have a lot of great memories with other clubs, but wherever I am in the world, I’ll see Celtic tops.

“Sometimes they recognise me, and they’ve always got fond memories, which takes me back as well, so it never leaves you – and even if I wanted to escape it, I couldn’t, but I don’t want to, so that’s also a big plus.

“It was a privilege and it still is”

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink celebrates with Aiden McGeady after scoring against Barcelona during UEFA Cup Champions League match at Celtic Park, on February 20, 2008. Photo LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s only when you stop playing football that you realise who special it was, and it became a part of your life. My daughter was born in Glasgow, and my son grew up there, and we lived there as a family. So there are small things which make you a part of the club and of Glasgow, not just me but us as a family, so that’s what makes it extra special.

“At the time it was my first time playing abroad and there was a lot of things going on, but also being successful and having such a fanbase with such a great stadium, it was a privilege and it still is, and I see it as one of the great things for me in my career that I could play for Celtic.”

The Legends Charity Match between Celtic and Borussia Dortmund promises to be a fantastic occasion for all the family and tickets are on general sale now, priced at £15 for adults and £7 for concessions are are available HERE.

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