Winning Is The Drug Of Choice

Last updated : 11 April 2013 By Ed_ScottishFitba

celtic jpegSuccessful people in any walk of life tend to be focused on their chosen area of expertise often to the exclusion of being aware of anything else. Former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink believes Neil Lennon is one such person who is only focused on winning no matter what the competition. He has progressed onto harder and harder challenges and can be badly affected with withdrawal symptoms if things do not go according to plan. However, Vennegoor of Hesselink believes the lack of challenge from traditional rivals Rangers in the SPL cannot weaken Lennon's "addiction". Celtic have played the league campaign with only the occasional bump along the way and are 15 points clear of second placed Motherwell with five games left to play. Lennon has steered his side into the last-16 of the Champions League and can clinch the SPL when they welcome Inverness in the first game of the post-split fixtures. They have the chance to secure the league if the Steelmen slip up at Dundee United two days earlier. Vennegoor of Hesselink, who won two SPL titles, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup in his three years at Parkhead between 2006 and 2009, spoke about his former team-mate's desire to win, regardless of circumstances.

The former Holland international said: "If you look how he (Lennon) did in the Champions League and in the league, he is doing his job really well. Sometimes you have slip-ups but they are 15 points clear so that says enough. I know Lenny a little bit and he will want to win the cup and get the double. As a footballer, there is a competitiveness, you want to win. It is like an addiction and if you win prizes you want to do it over and over. I think that is in the mind of Lenny and hopefully in the minds of a lot of players."

Vennegoor of Hesselink, however, admits  he hardly recognised the post split SPL table this season with Inverness and Ross County in the top six and Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen in the bottom six. The Dutchman said: "I was reading the paper this morning and normally the table has Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and now it is the other way round. It is massive difference from only three or four years ago and also a bit of a shame because you want a good league with a lot of competitiveness. I was an analyst on the Celtic versus Inverness game in February and Inverness were pushing for second place. Celtic played their fringe players and Inverness were played off the park. That's not to talk badly about Inverness but it is a shame. As a footballer, you want to win it by a mile but sometimes it is also about the competitiveness, that is why fans come to the stadium. As a fan you always want to win but sometimes the nicest game is a last-minute winner so it is a shame that is not really there. The semi-final is really important because that is where they can get their satisfaction from too, getting the double and getting that on your CV. I played football for 18 years and I was quite lucky to win some prizes but only won two doubles in my career."

Vennegoor of Hesselink revealed his strong Celtic links mean he has been quizzed about the demise of Rangers back in his homeland. He said: "It is a big issue. People refer to me as a Celtic player, not a PSV or Twente player, so my time here had a big impact. They (people in Holland) know that Rangers went down and the Old Firm is a match that you miss. Everybody in Europe or maybe even the world talked about the derby and it's not there. I think it is painful because as a footballer you want those intensity games but it is not there and that is a shame."