Gary Lineker puts Celtic question to Virgil Van Dijk as he reveals the 'intense' Rangers factor nobody sees

The Liverpool defender made his UK football breakthrough at Celtic.The Liverpool defender made his UK football breakthrough at Celtic.
The Liverpool defender made his UK football breakthrough at Celtic.

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After a breakthrough on the UK scene at Celtic, the Dutchman has established himself as a Liverpool hero.

Virgil Van Dijk admits the police meetings before Rangers vs Celtic were more intense than the game itself in his sole experience.

The centre-back will no doubt be keen for his former side to come out on top when the pair meet in a crucial league fixture this Sunday. Van Dijk is a Liverpool stalwart now but it was the Hoops who made the initial move to bring him to UK football from Groningen in 2013.

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He left for Southampton in 2015 before sealing a 2018 move to Anfield for a cool £75m. Now speaking with England legend Gary Lineker and Man City hero Micah Richards on the Rest is Football podcast, Van Dijk has reflected on all things Celtic.

Lineker kicked off the conversation by asking “how did the move to Celtic come about?” Van Dijk responded: “It was time for me to make the next step. Things are different, you are away from family, different culture, language.

“But it’s not crazy different as Scotland and Holland is not like five or six hours away from where you lived before, but it was a big change. We had our first kid in Glasgow and really enjoyed it. That prepared me for what came next.”

Richards was keen to know what the derby with Rangers was like. Van Dijk only appeared in one, a 2-0 League Cup semi-final win in 2015 as the Light Blues made their way from the lower leagues back to the Premiership. The Liverpool defender admitted it’s not the game that is the most intense factor.

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He explained: “I played it once. The whole preparations and the meetings with police for example for the game to get you ready was more intense than the actual game. It’s a special game.

“The city is divided with the two clubs and it’s amazing to have played it at least once. It’s an intense battle but at the time I was there, it was more intense outside the game. We really enjoyed it over there. The city in general was very bubbly.

“Of course you come across some fans of the other team but same goes here. In Liverpool we have the same in this regards. The fans from the other team you come across are fanatic about their team but it’s still in a respectful way they approach you. People don’t really realise how massive Celtic is.”

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