Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata wary of Fenerbahce striker Robin van Persie

Celtic FC Fans

The two sides meet in the Europa League at Parkhead on Thursday.

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata has revealed he is wary of the threat posed by Fenerbahce striker Robin van Persie, in quotes published by the Scotsman.

The 24-year-old was reminiscing on his face-off with the Dutchman while on loan at Bolton Wanderers four years ago.

He was thrown into the deep end, with team-mate David Wheater having just been sent off, and was tasked with the small matter of keeping van Persie, in the prime of his career, quiet.

“It was tough, very tough,” said Boyata. “It was tough to play against van Persie, but to do it with ten against 11 made it even harder.

“We all know Van Persie… wherever you go in football, if you say his name to people they know he is a real quality player. He can finish really easily and if we leave him a bit of space in front of goal, he will kill us.

“We have to be really tight on him. You only need to type his name into YouTube to see the amazing goals he has scored across his career. I’ve seen all his amazing goals for Arsenal, Manchester United and even before that," he added.

The task of thwarting the 32-year-old in Europa League combat on Thursday will fall to Boyata and new teammate Jozo Simunovic. The man from Zagreb was a late summer arrival and there have been some growing pains in his working relationship with Boyata.

The former Manchester City man had struck up a promising partnership with Virgil van Dijk before Southampton came calling, and Ronny Deila will need his two central defenders in sync and on song if they are to triumph over a talented Fenerbahce team.

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