Former Rangers ace Michael Mols 'nearly joined Celtic' says ex-scout

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Former Celtic player and scout Davie Hay has lifted the lid on the Parkhead club's pursuit of Rangers hitman Michael Mols.

The Dutch striker joined Rangers before the turn of the Millennium, but was also courted by bitter city rivals Celtic, according to Hay.

Michael Mols was a fan favourite at Ibrox (Photo: Getty)

Michael Mols was a fan favourite at Ibrox (Photo: Getty)

Hay, who was chief scout during Tommy Burns' stint in charge at Parkhead, claims that Celtic were keeping tabs on the then Twente Enschede player.

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The Hoops legend first came across Mols when scouting future Celtic striker Pierre van Hooijdonk.

“I had travelled to Holland a few times around the period we bought Pierre because Dutch football was at a very good standard and there were players who could be bought for reasonable fees," said Hay in an interview with the Scottish Sun.

“I took in a NAC Breda game one afternoon and Pierre was outstanding. You couldn’t possibly miss him because he was about 6ft 5in, but he was very skilful on the ground with the ball at his feet. He ticked all the boxes.

“I was looking at another Dutch striker at Twente Enschede at the time. His name? Michael Mols who, of course, did eventually come to Glasgow – to sign for Rangers."

Now a club ambassador, Hay reveals that Celtic had a straight choice between Mols and Van Hooijdonk.

“At that time, though, Celtic had the choice between these players. I made another trip to see Pierre in action against Heerenveen and that helped me make up my mind.

“I had noted in previous games that he never wasted a direct free-kick. He may not always have scored, but he always hit the target.”

Man behind 'the Three Amigos'

Hay also took credit for the signings of Paolo Di Canio and Jorge Cadete, as well as van Hooidonk despite claims to the contrary from former Celtic player Andy Ritchie.

“I have no doubt Andy Ritchie did have a say in bringing some quality players to the club, but I worked hard to make sure Pierre, Jorge and Paolo became Celtic players.

“Maybe Andy’s memory is playing tricks on him!”