John Collins confirms Virgil van Dijk is 100% ready for Celtic’s Champions League game

Celtic star Van Dijk has been linked with making a move to Southampton.

Van Dijk’s future is still up in the air, but Celtic assistant coach John Collins has confirmed to the official club website he is completely ready to play for the Bhoys this week as they take on Malmo in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier.

Collins said: “Virgil is a 100 per cent ready to play the game, I have no doubt about that. He was terrific last week in the first leg and I have no doubt he will be terrific tomorrow night as well. I’m hopeful he will be here long-term. The most important thing is that he’s going to be ready for tomorrow night. He’s a huge player for us and he’ll be ready.”

Although Collins does not rule out a transfer occurring in the coming week, Collins has eased the biggest feat that Celtic fans would have taking into their Champions League game - the feat that Van Dijk would not play.

As is often the case, when players are under increased transfer speculation, they are often left out of matchday selections due to issues with their mentality.

Mindsets can be off the game, meaning performance levels are lessened, and it is generally a wiser choice for the head coach to select a different player who is not under increased pressure.

Van Dijk is in this situation, with the Mirror claiming that Southampton have won the race to sign him from Celtic, with a £10 million bid reportedly set to be accepted by the Bhoys.

However, Collins believes Van Dijk is ‘100% ready’ for the game with Malmo, and the Dutch centre-back will need to be at the top of his game if the Bhoys are to ensure progression through to the group stages of the Champions League.

And if they manage to get past Malmo into Europe’s premier competition, then Van Dijk may just turn down the interest from Southampton and stay with Champions League side Celtic.

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