The biggest criticism of Virgil van Dijk is that he plays within himself as he eases his way through Celtic’s domestic fixtures.
Clean sheets in the opening matches against Ross County and Partick Thistle suggest that the new defensive partnership with Dedryck Boyata is every but as effective as last season’s pairing with Jason Denayer.
Yesterday’s performance at Firhill was typical of van Dijk as he brushed aside Ryan Stevenson’s pre-planned attempt to get physical before deciding to help out in the bid to break down the Thistle goal.
Not long after rattling the Thistle post the Dutchman found himself chasing after an overhit corner from Kris Commons. Being pressured by Liam Lindsay as he moved towards the corner flag didn’t faze van Dijk as a quick flick of the heel and he was heading towards goal with the crowd in awe at the moment of skill.
Unfortunately his shot hit the side netting but the flick to get away from the Lindsay will be long remembered after most goals scored at the weekend.
How long Celtic fans will have to enjoy watching van Dijk in the flesh remains open to question but the defender can look forward to a season that looks sure to involve playing in the Champions League or a move south to the Premier League.
An offer of £10m is certain to bring Celtic to the negotiating table but if the hoops board keep a cool head it’s not impossible for figures closer to £15m to be discussed.
With hyper inflation running through the English game £8m seems to be a standard figure for anyone competent to hold down a regular place well away from the battle for honours or a Champions League place.
Like it or not playing in Scotland is sneered at by the majority in English football although the success of Victor Wanyama, Ki Sung Yueng, Joe Ledley and Fraser Forster has been noted.
While he is still with us the ability of van Dijk will be enjoyed and celebrated, Stephenson and Lindsay of Thistle won’t be the last opponents to be left red faced by the ice cool Dutchman.