Football: Van Dijk eyes emulating Celtic sweep of 2001

Football: Van Dijk eyes emulating Celtic sweep of 2001
Celtic's Virgil van Dijk (R) in action against Aberdeen's Adam Rooney

GLASGOW - Defender Virgil van Dijk says he is fully focussed on winning a treble with Celtic to help banish his Dutch disappointment.

The centre-half missed out on a place in the Holland squad as they drew 1-1 with Turkey in a Euro 2016 qualifier before defeating Spain 2-0 in a friendly.

While the 23-year-old still harbours ambitions to play for his country, van Dijk is determined to become part of the first Celtic team since 2001 to win a clean sweep of trophies in Scotland.

"I am just focused on Celtic and enjoying everything here. Until I get a chance I will just keep playing," the Dutch defender said.

"I want to win the treble and make history here and that's what everybody wants to do.

"I have made a lot of progress, but I made big expectations for other people to judge me. I enjoy every day here and there is a big chance we can win the treble. This is what I want.

"I want to do well for the club, the people around the club and myself. I want to win games and develop. We started the season not too well but we are doing very well at the moment and we need to keep going and make it a very good season."

The Hoops return to Scottish Premiership action on Friday when they play bottom of the table St Mirren.

One player looking to start against St Mirren is Gary Mackay-Steven. The January signing from Dundee United missed out on a lot of football in March due to being cup-tied for Celtic's League Cup final win and Scottish Cup matches.

Mackay-Steven returned to score in the Scottish champions' 3-0 win over Dundee United - his third strike in seven games - but the winger isn't taking his place in the Celtic first team for granted.

"You can't be complacent because you have started well," he said.

"The past, what I may have done, or what has happened so far, has gone.

"All I am doing is looking ahead to our next fixture, which is against St Mirren on Friday.

"The manager has a great pool of players to pick from.

"He has an abundance of options, especially in attacking positions.

"So you really need to keep your standards up.

"This keeps everyone on their toes at all times, which is a great thing for the club." Celtic, who look likely to be without Nir Bitton who suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury while on international duty with Israel, could open up an eight point gap at the top of the table with victory over a St Mirren side who have lost four of their past five matches.

On Saturday, nearest rivals Aberdeen host Partick Thistle at Pittodrie while Dundee United welcome Ross County, who are undefeated in six matches, to Tannadice.

Hamilton, still looking for their first win since January 4, take on St Johnstone at New Douglas Park, and Inverness host Dundee while Motherwell face a trip to Kilmarnock.

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