Mid-season review – Giorgos Giakoumakis

As we entered the ‘deadline day’ of summer transfer windows on August 31, Celtic were far from done recruiting potential new signings in hopes of joining Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic Revolution. When we learned that Celtic were sending Leigh Griffiths on loan to Dundee, after his latest indiscretion was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, it was obvious we needed another striker.

With Griffiths gone, the manager was left with just two options in the job, one being new signing Kyogo and the other Albian Ajeti, who many Celtic fans had lost faith in long ago. So when our 10th transfer window signing was announced as Giorgos Giakoumakis, many were intrigued by what the Greece international striker could bring to the team.

Looking closer at the player, the first thing that stood out was that he had scored 26 goals in 30 games for Dutch side VVV-Venlo in the Eredivisie the previous season, finishing as the league’s top scorer despite playing in a poor team that eventually got relegated. He had recently broken into the Greece squad where he had made 6 appearances so far, scoring once. It was impossible not to look at his recent goalscoring exploits and not be impressed.

Georgios Giakoumakis of VVV-Venlo during the Dutch Eredivisie match between VVV-Venlo and FC Groningen at Covebo de Koel Stadium on April 3, 2021 in Venlo, Netherlands. Photo ANP JEROEN PUTMANS

Upon signing for Celtic, Giakoumakis explained that he knew the standards expected at the club and was ready to give his all. Speaking to celticfc.com, he said:

“I’m really proud, I’m happy and I’m really excited to have signed for this beautiful club. I will give 100 per cent in every game to help my team win every game because that is the goal Celtic should always have: winning every game, in Europe and in the Scottish Premiership.

Giakoumakis made his Celtic debut during the final 15 minutes of Celtic’s Europa League game at home to Bayer Leverkusen, with the game already beyond our reach. He made his league debut a few weeks later against Motherwell, once again featured as a late substitute. He started his first game soon after, scoring his first goal for the club against St Johnstone in late October in a decent performance that many had hoped would launch his Celtic career.

Unfortunately, a week later, Giakoumakis missed a late spot-kick as Celtic squandered the chance to leapfrog Rangers after a goalless draw at home to Livingston, which appeared to negatively affect his confidence. Many wondered why Josip Juranovic didn’t take the penalty as he had yet to miss for Celtic, but the manager explained that Giakoumakis was the designated penalty taker that day. His previous record from the spot for VVV-Venlo was impressive, so it’s easy to see why he was penalized, but with the miss so costly, it was also easy to see why fans were so annoyed by the weakly kicked penalty.

Giakoumakis has made 9 appearances this season, but only 2 of those appearances were from the start, with most being fleeting substitute appearances. Manager Ange Postecoglou recently backed his striker in a Greek TV interview, where he said he believed in the player and felt he had been unlucky so far in his career Celtic, with injuries hampering his progress and limiting his ability to impress the Celtic faithful. The Celtic manager believes he can still emulate former striker and compatriot Georgios Samaras in making an impact at the club.

Celtic’s Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates after scoring. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the great Greek striker has struggled with form and fitness over the past four months. But now that he is fully fit again after the winter break, I feel Giakoumakis is ready to make an impact. With the news that Daizen Maeda has been called up by Japan for their World Cup qualifier and will therefore miss the Scottish Premiership’s upcoming games against Hearts, Dundee United and the Glasgow Derby, Giakoumakis will have the opportunity to show fans that he has what he has. takes to be a hit at Celtic Park.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to start tonight in the Scottish Cup tie against Barry Ferguson’s Alloa side. This could be the perfect opportunity for Ange Postecoglou to start him against a lower league side with less pressure on him, giving him the chance to find the sharpness in this game ahead of a potentially big run at the front of the table in some games. difficult over the next few weeks. .

Celtic’s Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and St. Johnstone FC on October 23, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

I said before when Frank McAvennie popped Giakoumakis recently that I think the player will prove his doubters wrong, especially now that he’s back in top form. From what I’ve seen of him so far, I think there’s definitely a good player in there, but he’s been hampered so far by the lack of pre-season that has left him. led to getting injured and never getting a good run down the side.

With Kyogo injured and Maeda on international duty, it would be the perfect time for Giakoumakis to launch his Celtic career. He’s now going to have a run down the side and he has to seize the opportunity with both hands. A one hundred percent record over the next few games with the Greek striker scoring a few goals is sure to endear him to Celtic fans and could be the start of a successful Glasgow career. The next few weeks will be the making of the player, one way or another.

Conall McGinty

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