Van Dijk has stomach for pre-season at Celtic

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CELTIC defender Virgil van Dijk is already relishing life with his new club as he gets set to make his first appearance for the Scottish champions tonight.

The 21-year-old Dutchman is with Neil Lennon’s squad in Germany where they will play the opening match of their four-game pre-season trip against Ukrainian side Sevastopol in the Bavarian town of Furstenfeldbruck. Van Dijk, signed from Groningen last month in a £2.5 million deal, has revealed he is approaching the new campaign in a far more positive mindset than he was at the same time 12 months ago.

“Last year was very bad for me because I had an injury towards the end of the previous season,” said van Dijk. “I had just come back, so pre-season was very tough.

“I had something wrong with my stomach, abdominal pains – it happened on April 1 – a crazy day. I was in hospital for ten days, so it was hard to recover from it in the summer. Everything is good now though.

“It’s hard work, but it’s good. I’m not top-fit right now, but I’m getting there.”