Derk Boerrigter will gladly tell you that he still retains a soft spot for Celtic.

So much so that he will be cheering on his former club tonight when they face his Dutch compatriots Feyenoord in the De Kuip Stadium as the Champions League group stage kicks off in earnest. However, the 36-year-old has warned Feyenoord that it's the Blue Samurai contingent within the green and white ranks that could hold the key to a shock Celtic triumph.

The Dutch winger joined the Hoops for £3 million in 2013 and stayed at Parkhead for three years but major injury issues blighted his stay in Scotland, where he played a total of 514 minutes of first-team football. The former Ajax player has heard all the hype surrounding Arne Slot's Feyenoord and has watched on with interest as the Rotterdammers have slammed in 17 goals in their last three Eredivisie matches.

Boerrigter though believes that Celtic possess a triumvirate of talented players in the shape of Japan internationals Reo Hatate, Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda that can and will pose questions of Feyenoord and could potentially knock them off their stride in the Group E opener. With Kyogo sitting on 58 career goals for Celtic, the striker has still to get off the mark in the Champions League group stage proper there would be no better stage for the attacker to break his duck than in the De Kuip Stadium.

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Celtic Way:

Boerrigter said: "I still follow the fortunes of Celtic and I have been really impressed with the Japanese players since they came to the club.

"The likes of Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi are crazy, talented players. They know how to kick a ball, that's for sure, and they are very dangerous in front of the goal.

"Kyogo and Hatate are two Celtic players who can hurt Feyenoord definitely. The duo have certain skills and they can open up a game and they can make a real difference. It will be a very interesting game as both sides have the ability to play great football and score goals.

"Feyenoord is the strongest team in Holland and Arne Slot has the Eredivisie champions playing really well. They have won 6-1, 5-1 and 6-1 in their last three matches. There is no doubt Feyenoord have quality players who can score goals but so does Celtic. "Celtic are a well-known club, especially in the European arena and I am expecting a great game in De Kuip between two excellent teams.

"I think it will be an open game as both teams will create lots of chances as they will be trying to win the match. It won't finish 0-0!"

Boerrigter featured in four Champions League matches in the 2013/14 campaign and lost every one of them to AC Milan, Ajax and Barcelona. He was part of the side that was hammered 3-0 by Milan at Celtic Park when the likes of Kaka, Mario Balotelli and compatriot Nigel de Jong put Neil Lennon's team to the sword. Although he readily admits that he has never experienced a football atmosphere like Glasgow's east end on a Champions League night.

He said: "I have played in the Champions League with both Ajax and Celtic. The nights I witnessed with Celtic were truly special. The games at Celtic Park were incredible.

"The atmosphere was crazy and I had never felt or experienced anything like it in football. European matches under the lights at Celtic Park are truly amazing. The moment you start the huddle and you hear that music and the crowd cheer from the first to the 90th minute is spine-tingling.

"Every team that visits Celtic Park on a Champions League night will witness the massive support given to the team from the fans. The Celtic fans are like an extra man to their team on those nights and we have seen before how it can be a real positive for them. When you have that kind of backing from that home crowd it can spur you on to get results.

"Celtic can achieve anything with this crowd behind them. You only need to look at how the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United have all fallen in the past in Glasgow at the hands of Celtic on Champions League nights."

Celtic Way:

Boerrigter reckons Celtic's home form could be crucial to finishing in the top two or three in Group E. With Atletico Madrid and Lazio also in the section, Boerrigter is steeling himself for a dogfight with all four slugging it out for precious points. Boerriger insists that it could prove to be a cut-throat group as there is no real proven European heavyweight and whilst all four teams have a pedigree at this level there is no runaway favourite.

He said: "I don't think one team will be above the other quality-wise in this group. There is no Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester City in there alongside Celtic. Atletico Madrid has their weaknesses which Celtic will hope to exploit. Celtic defeated Lazio in Glasgow and Rome in the Europa League under Neil Lennon four years ago. They can take some confidence from that.

"This is a group on paper which I look at and think everybody can beat each other. There are chances for every team in this group to qualify as they are all capable of producing a result on the night in the Champions League. That's why I think qualification could all come down to how all the teams perform in their home matches. That could largely determine whether or not Celtic can get out of the group.

"Anything can happen though as the Champions League is an entirely different platform for clubs like Celtic altogether."

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Boerrigter reckons that when all is said and done he can see Brendan Rodgers' men coming away with a point from their travels. He has nailed his colours firmly to the mast and revealed that he will be shunning his fellow compatriots and will be lending his support to Celtic.

He said: "It's a hard game to predict but I can see there being a few goals scored. I fancy a draw and the match to finish 2-2. I can't split either Feyenoord or Celtic.

"I will be supporting Celtic, that's for sure, as I am a former player at the club and I am an out-and-out Ajax man. Although the Celtic fans never got to see the best of me when I played for them, my time at the club was a really amazing experience. I still support Celtic to this day and I keep an eye on how their results are going."