CELTIC legend Davie Hay has expressed his sorrow at the news Wim Jansen has passed away at the age of 75.
The former Hoops manager and player worked with the Dutchman in the never-to-be-forgotten 1997/98 season when the Parkhead side prevented Walter Smith’s Ibrox side from making history with a tenth successive title.
Jansen was diagnosed with dementia in October last year and, in another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hay, speaking to author and friend Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the icon’s autobiography ‘The Quiet Assassin‘, said: “This is dreadfully sad and, naturally, my thoughts are with his family and close friends.
“It was a pleasure to work with Wim who was a thorough professional in everything he did. He was a real football man and we got on well with each other from day one.
SILVERWARE SUCCESS…Wim Jansen with the championship and the League Cup trophies.
“We spent a lot of time together and he struck me as an individual who knew exactly what he was looking for in a player. Henrik Larsson, of course, was his type of player.
“Wim knew what he was getting with Henrik after working with him at Feyenoord. He was aware of the clause in the Swede’s contract that would allow him to leave the Dutch side for £650,000.
“It was clear Henrik wanted to join up again with his former coach and that helped immensely in getting the deal over the line. Of course, there is no such thing as a clear-cut transfer, there is always a snag with so many people involved outwith the actual buying and selling teams and the player.
“As chief scout at the time, I was involved all the way through the process, but I was impressed by Henrik’s absolute determination to work again with Wim. That told me all I needed to know.”
Hay fell foul of owner Fergus McCann during a behind-the-scenes power struggle with General Manager Jock Brown and was sacked as the season neared its completion. Brown would later suffer the same fate as his adversary.
DUTCH TREAT…Davie Hay listens intently to Wim Jansen as he discusses all things football.
The Hoops great added: “Yes, it was sore to leave Celtic, particularly following all the hard work to get them into a challenging position in a year of transition after Wim had taken over from Tommy Burns.
“I didn’t dwell on my farewells with Wim, I realised he was far too busy with his own thoughts. I didn’t want to be a distraction.
“I wished him good luck and told him I would be cheering him all the way from the terracings.
“I was on my way to East End Park for the second last league game of the season against Dunfermline. Believe it or not, I was on the Davie Hay Paisley Celtic Supporters’ bus when it broke down en route to Fife. Thankfully, the problem was sorted and I got there in time to see Simon Donnelly putting us into the lead.
“A win would have given my old team the championship, but a late goal from Craig Falconbridge denied them and the game ended 1-1.
“But Wim, Henrik and Co did get their hands on the silverware a week later with the 2-0 victory over St Johnstone in a truly marvellous day at Celtic Park.
“I would like to thank Wim for that unforgettable moment, my wee Dutch pal certainly played a major role in his Celtic history in his solitary season.
“Wim Jansen delivered when Celtic needed him most.”