FOOTBALL: PIERRE YOU GO,OLD BHOYS!; VAN THE MAN DELIVERS EURO VERDICT ON CELTIC Hooy There,he's So Sure Martin's Men Won't Stutt-Er on March to UEFA Cup

The People (London, England), January 26, 2003 | Go to article overview
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FOOTBALL: PIERRE YOU GO,OLD BHOYS!; VAN THE MAN DELIVERS EURO VERDICT ON CELTIC Hooy There,he's So Sure Martin's Men Won't Stutt-Er on March to UEFA Cup


Byline: David LEGGAT

FORMER Parkhead pin-up Pierre Van Hooydonk is tipping Celtic to smash Stuttgart - and blaze a European glory trail.

The Feyenoord strike ace reckons that if the Dutch outfit could win the UEFA Cup last season, there's nothing to stop Celtic carrying off the trophy this term.

The controversial front man was back on his old stomping ground to score spectacularly in Feyenoord's 3-2 win last week in the Lisbon Lions' Benefit match.

And he predicted: "Yes, Celtic can go all the way in this season's UEFA Cup, for we showed what can be done in that tournament when we won it last year.

"What that proved was that anyone can win it on their day.

"And we got that bit of luck and all of a sudden you are right up there and then, who knows?"

Being back on the continent, Van Hooydonk is perfectly placed to deliver a verdict on how Celtic will fare against Stuttgart from just across the Dutch border in Germany.

And he is convinced the Scottish champions - who have already seen off Blackburn from the Premiership and Celta Vigo from La Liga - will now claim a Bundesliga scalp.

He insisted: "I am extremely confident Celtic will be able to beat Stuttgart over two legs."

But there was a warning from Van Hooydonk that even Henrik Larsson won't find it easy to find a way through a Stuttgart defence which is guarded by Fernando Meira.

He's the man the Portuguese regard as a natural successor to their legendary veteran captain Fernando Couto.

And Meira looked impressive for Portugal when they beat Scotland in a friendly last November. But his emergence has been no surprise to Van Hooydonk, who said: "I played with him at Benfica and he was always going to go right to the top."

Despite that, Van Hooydonk knows his old Stadium of Light team-mate will be right up against it when he tries to tangle with Larsson and John Hartson.

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FOOTBALL: PIERRE YOU GO,OLD BHOYS!; VAN THE MAN DELIVERS EURO VERDICT ON CELTIC Hooy There,he's So Sure Martin's Men Won't Stutt-Er on March to UEFA Cup
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