Van Dijk joy after season in the sun...

VIRGIL VAN DIJK has hailed a "fantastic" season from Celtic as he gets set to bring the curtain down on his first campaign in Scottish football.

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Virgil van Dijk enjoyed jousting with Europe's  big guns in the Champions League for Celtic
Virgil van Dijk enjoyed jousting with Europe's big guns in the Champions League for Celtic

The Dutch defender has caught the eye since his move to Parkhead last summer and quickly become an integral part of Neil Lennon's side.

While the Hoops have eased to their third successive top flight crown, it has been a frustrating few months of knockout action as they have suffered early eliminations from the Champions League, League Cup and Scottish Cup.

But van Dijk is satisfied with the champions' SPFL performances as Lennon's side bid to finish with a flourish.

"It was my first championship as a player so it meant a lot to me, and it was an amazing feeling," the defender said.

"We worked hard for it all season and deserved it."

He went on: "We played a lot of good games particularly in the league.

"The cups and the Champions League were a little disappointing, but the league was amazing.

"To only have one defeat is fantastic."

With the Premiership campaign entering its final stages, boss Lennon will soon turn his attentions to another shot at Euro glory.

The Hoops will play their Champions League qualifiers at Murrayfield due to their Parkhead home being used for the Commonwealth Games.

Van Dijk said: "It's going to be tough again, but you need to be ready for that when the time comes and we are looking forward to them.

"We deserve to play in the group stages as we are one of the biggest clubs in the UK and are champions but it's not that simple.

"I don't know what Murrayfield is like so it's difficult to say, but so be it and we just need to make sure we get to the group stages so we get more nights at Celtic Park again.

"You hope it's going to be much better than what happened this season. When the draw was made and I saw the three clubs, it was an amazing feeling.

"My first season in the Champions League, to play against Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax was brilliant, I enjoyed it a lot."

Meanwhile, seven Hoops kids have been named in the Scotland Under-17 squad for the Euro finals in Malta.

Jack Breslin, Sam Wardrop, Aidan McIlduff, Aidan Nesbitt, Joe Thomson, Steven Boyd and Calvin Miller will all travel with Scot Gemmill's side for matches against Portugal, Germany and Switzerland.


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