Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink: It will be good to come back home to Celtic Park

All Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink needs to feel good is a plane ticket to Glasgow. Once he’s back in the dear green place, the memories of the three years he’s spent in the city come flooding back along with a whole array of good feelings.

So the former striker didn’t hesitate when the opportunity arose to return to Glasgow and, more importantly, come back to Celtic Park where many of those cherished memories were created.

He will be part of the Celtic Legends squad which takes on their Borussia Dortmund counterparts on Sunday, May 26 in a special charity game for Celtic FC Foundation which is sponsored by Dafabet.


And he’s counting down the days, as well as trying to ensure he’s as fit as possible for the match.

Speaking to the official Celtic website, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink said: “For me it’s just a privilege to be part of the game.

“I was at Celtic Park recently and thought about the fact that I had played there on the pitch for three years.

‘Now I’m just a supporter which is great, so now for me to play the game on May 26th is just an honour.’

“The game’s going to be fantastic and hopefully a lot of people will come, and, for me, it’s just a piece of my life that’s there and it will never leave me.

“It gives me great satisfaction to play in the game, to be back in Glasgow, to see the people again – and there are still a lot of people who work at the club who I know really well – so, for me, it’s also a little bit like coming home.

“It’s always nice to go back to Glasgow and if I want to have a good feeling, I just need to take the plane to Glasgow and it’s always good.”

Vennegoor of Hesselink spent three years at Celtic after joining from PSV Eindhoven in 2006, making 108 appearances for the club, scoring 44 goals.

He also won a clean sweep of domestic honours during his time with the club, winning the Scottish Cup in 2007, the League Cup two years later and two league titles.

The latter of those titles in 2008 saw Vennegoor of Hesselink score the goal at Tannadice which confirmed Celtic as champions, an emotional night that came just days after the sad passing of Celtic legend, Tommy Burns, who was first-team coach at the time.

The Dutch striker has scored some other vital goals in that title run-in, including a last-gasp derby winner at Celtic Park, and these are just some of the highlights which supporters are happy to talk about whenever and wherever they meet him.

“People always remember, whether that’s in Holland or elsewhere, that I played for Celtic,” he explained.

“I played for the club for three years, won some trophies and had some success with the team, and we had some great experiences in the Champions League.

“And it says a lot that, although I played for many other clubs, everyone always talks about me being a Celtic player. That tells you about the magnitude of the club.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's title clincher from 2008.

“This is special for me because I played for a lot of clubs, and I have a lot of great memories with other clubs, but wherever I am in the world, I’ll see Celtic tops.

“Sometimes they recognise me, and they’ve always got fond memories, which takes me back as well, so it never leaves you – and even if I wanted to escape it, I couldn’t, but I don’t want to, so that’s also a big plus.

“It’s only when you stop playing football that you realise who special it was, and it became a part of your life.

“My daughter was born in Glasgow, and my son grew up there, and we lived there as a family.

‘So there are small things which make you a part of the club and of Glasgow, not just me but us as a family, so that’s what makes it extra special.’

“At the time it was my first time playing abroad and there was a lot of things going on, but also being successful and having such a fanbase with such a great stadium, it was a privilege and it still is, and I see it as one of the great things for me in my career that I could play for Celtic.”

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was part of the Celtic Legends team which played Liverpool at Anfield last year, and he’s delighted to be involved again in a charity match this year as the Hoops take on Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, May 26 (KO: 2pm).

What makes it even more special this time around is the fact that the game’s at Celtic Park. But while he’s looking forward to meeting up with friends and former team-mates on the day, the former Celtic striker also knows what the main focus will be.

“As a player it’s great to be involved in such a big event but the charity is the most important thing for that day,” he said.

“The things that the Foundation do are great because it’s helping other people, and if I can be a small part of that to contribute, that’s great because the Foundation does a great job.

“It’s something for us guys who were privileged to have worn the top in the past that we can now give a small thing back.

“So it’s a big-shout out to the club and the charity because I know how much hard work is involved in planning and arranging everything, so hopefully it will be a big turn-out, and it will be a big success.”


The Legends Charity Match promises to be a fantastic occasion for all the family and tickets are on general sale now, priced at:

  • Adults – £15
  • Concessions – £7



A range of Matchday Hospitality packages are available for the Legends Charity Match at Celtic Park, starting at just £30 per person.

You can register your interest in these packages here or check regularly for the latest updates.


Funds raised through the match will focus on feeding people in need of support, to reflect the heritage of the club and respond to the current cost of living crisis, which is overwhelming so many families and individuals.

This will include continuation and development of Celtic FC Foundation’s Paradise Pit Stop project at Celtic Park. In addition, we will look to secure new locations for food provision with local partners in Inverclyde and Lanarkshire, plus London and Ireland to complement our current delivery of key projects in those areas.

With Scott Brown set to captain the side, we’re delighted to confirm that a donation will also be made to Dundee Cancer Centre at Ninewells Hospital, in memory of his sister Fiona, who sadly passed away in 2008 aged just 21