Wim van Hanegem was part of the Feyenoord side that got the better of Celtic in extra-time in the 1970 European Cup Final in Milan, a night where the Dutch were clear underdogs going into match but ran out worthy winners on a night where Jock Stein’s side woefully under-performed.
Tomorrow might the two clubs meet again in European football’s premier club competition for the first time competitively since that historic night for Dutch football and this time it’s Celtic who are the underdogs. Over in the Netherlands Celtic are being written off, much of the commentary surrounds the lessons from the PSV 5-1 hammering of theRangers the Champions League play-off a few weeks ago.
Celtic, we’ve been told, won’t get a kick of the ball. We apparently play ‘infantile football’ and on it goes. It was probably Celtic who were over-confident back in 1970 but this time the same affliction appears to be affecting the Dutch Champions. This of course could very much work in Celtic’s favour, as indeed it did for Feyenoord just over half a century ago.
And clearly the former Feyenoord European Cup winner sees the danger in underestimating the current Celtic side as he name checks four of Brendan Rodgers’ players who could cause a great deal of problems for his old club.
After Feyenoord scored six goals at the weekend against Heerenveen, confidence is sky-high despite the Champions currently sitting in fourth spot in the Eredivisie, a point behind PSV, Az Alkmaar and Twente with Feyenoord having played a game more then the other three.
“People think Feyenoord will win easily against both Celtic this week and Ajax on Sunday. Well, a lot can change in football in a few days,” Wim van Hanegem said, as reported by Glasgow Times.
“Of course, I hope that Celtic are defeated, but I certainly don’t believe they will be overpowered the way Feyenoord did to Heerenveen at the weekend when they won 6-1.
“A lot of people have been knocking on my door asking about the 1970 Final. But I am afraid I don’t sit at home with scrapbooks on my lap. Celtic in 2023 only resembles Celtic in 1970 in terms of the shirts.
“I hope Feyenoord wins, but I have seen those Japanese players Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda from Celtic at work a few times and the South Korean Yang Hyun-jun.
“Believe me, this will be no cake walk for Feyenoord…quite the contrary in fact.”