Rangers legend Arthur Numan has revealed ex-Celtic star Pierre van Hooijdonk told him it was “impossible” for him to join Numan at Ibrox after playing for their bitter rivals.
The Dutch left-back spent five years at Ibrox after joining the Gers in 1998 and revealed that then-manager Dick Advocaat wanted to bring the former Celtic striker back to Scottish football.
Numan and van Hooijdonk were room-mates together with the Dutch national team and Numan revealed how Advocaat instructed him to speak to the then-Nottingham Forest striker and convince him to cross the Old Firm divide a little over a year after leaving Parkhead.
Ex-Dutch international Numan admitted he didn’t quite understand van Hooijdonk’s reaction until he played in an Old Firm game himself.
“Dick had said ‘try and get Pierre. I want him to play for Rangers. Maybe you can convince him to come to us.’ So I asked Pierre and he started to laugh,” Numan Told Open Goal’s Si Ferry in a video posted on their Twitter account.
“He said ‘Arthur, you have no idea. Wait until you play your first Old Firm game and then you will see what I mean. For me it is impossible to sign for Rangers.’
“I said to him as well that in Holland there are players that go from Ajax to PSV and from PSV to Feyenoord but he said ‘Arthur, no. I played for Celtic. I can’t play for Rangers.’
“I’ve tried it a couple of times but, I have to admit that once I came to Scotland and after a few weeks – and especially after my first Old Firm game – I realised what he wanted to say to me and he was spot on. He was right.”
— Open Goal (@opengoalsport) January 22, 2018
Numan made 174 appearances for the Ibrox giants and lifted three Scottish titles, four Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups before retiring in 2003.
The Dutchman was a firm favourite amongst Rangers fans and maintains a good relationship with the Ibrox fanbase.
Van Hooijdonk joined Celtic in 1995 and scored the goal which secured the Hoops’ first trophy in six years when they beat Airdrie 1-0 in the 1994/95 Scottish Cup final.
The striker joined Nottingham Forest in 1997 after a wage dispute with Celtic and went on to win 46 caps for the Dutch national team.