Hooiveld confident of success at Celtic

15 January 2010 06:31
Hooiveld became Tony Mowbray's first signing of the month after penning a three-and-a-half-year contract at Parkhead earlier this week.

The 26-year-old, who joined from AIK Solna, has played in Scotland before, having featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly for Livingston in 2005.

The West Lothian club did not need a second look, shipping him straight back to parent club Heerenveen.

But a move to Finnish club Inter Turku proved to be the wake-up call Hooiveld needed.

"I had to grow up a bit and I guess I did," he said.

"That's the thing in my head I had to change, a way of approaching things.

"I knew that I could play football but, mentally, I knew I had to become more like a winner."

He added: "When I was in Holland, I lost a match in training and I was all right by it.

"I went home, I went to my friends', we had laugh there.

"But as soon as I started living on my own, I had to be more focused.

"If I was losing games in training, for the rest of the day I felt silly.

"So I had to make sure I didn't lose any games any more."

The contrast between the Hooiveld of 2006 and the Hooiveld of today could not be more marked, with the player now expecting as much of his team-mates as of himself.

"I'm a player who always demands a lot of himself and lot of the people around me, a player who always goes up front in the battle," he said.

"I don't back down."

Hooiveld's new-found maturity allowed him to win back-to-back league titles in Finland and Sweden but he knows completing a hat-trick in Scotland will be more difficult.

But he scoffed at suggestions he will be under more scrutiny as an Old Firm player than he was at AIK.

"A lot of people underestimate the intensity of playing for AIK," he said.

"Go there once, especially the first game of the season.

"When the bus arrives, around 20,000 fans are there waiting for you, just to welcome you.

"The press is everywhere, constantly on AIK.

"Last year, we were champions but the year before Kalmar were champions.

"One week after Kalmar became champions, AIK fired their coach and it's the only thing they wrote about."

He added: "You put yourself under pressure. I don't get stressed if I play two bad games.

"I know that I can play football and it will come out one day.

"If the first two games are s***, the rest will be good.

"I always have two bad games in the season!

"For me, it's a privilege to play in front of a big crowd.

"I'm looking forward to it in a good way and I don't see it as a burden."

Neither does he feel the pressure of replacing Gary Caldwell, who was sold to Wigan this week.

"Somebody has to do it, eh?" said Hooiveld, who has compared himself to Johan Mjallby.

"I'm almost ready. I had a long holiday.

"The last game I had was the 9th of November, so I have to be a bit more fit before I can play a game.

"But I'm really fit between my ears."

Source: Team_Talk

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