Neil Lennon says defender Virgil van Dijk is “the best player I’ve worked with as a manager”.
The 26-year-old Dutch defender has sealed a £75m move to Liverpool from Premier League rivals Southampton.
Lennon, then Celtic manager, signed the Dutchman from FC Groningen for £2.6m in June 2013.
“He came in the first day and trained. I had a chat with him and said ‘enjoy yourself here because I don’t think you’ll be here long,'” said Lennon.
Van Dijk, 26, moved to Southampton for £13m two years later and Celtic included a sell-on clause which means they receive a significant sum – thought to be 10% of the transfer fee – when the deal is finalised.
“He was actually there for two seasons at Celtic,” Hibernian head coach Lennon said.
“The progress was impossible to stop. He was such a good player – probably the best I’ve worked with as a manager.
“When you think of the stature he is now; a world record fee for a defender, I think Celtic would probably value him more than £75m and I probably would as well.
“But like I said, I always thought he had the game and he’s proven that. He could play for any team in the world and I’m surprised that Manchester United or Manchester City, Barcelona or Real Madrid haven’t come in and bought him rather than Liverpool.
“But I think it’s great business for Liverpool. He’ll fit right in there.”