Greece teammates will be bemused by Belfast hostility towards Giorgos Giakoumakis | OneFootball

Greece teammates will be bemused by Belfast hostility towards Giorgos Giakoumakis

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The Celtic Star

After a slow start at Celtic due to missing out on pre-season and enduring a bad run of niggling injuries, many were keen to write off Giorgos Giakoumakis, a player who was the previous seasons Eredivisie top goalscorer with relegated club VVV-Venlo.

Thankfully Ange Postecoglou had more patience than some of our more impetuous fans, and after the player had worked hard during the winter break he went on to become one of the main men in a team that came from behind to win the league title and guarantee us Champions League football next season.

With two goals in the last game of the season against Motherwell, Giakoumakis actually ended the campaign as joint top goalscorer with Ross County’s Regan Charles-Cook, meaning that for the second season in a row he was the top goalscorer in the league he was playing in. This form over the past two years has saw him being regularly called up to the Greece national squad, with the big striker seeing plenty of game time under manager Gus Poyet.

Greece technical director Takis Fyssas, a former Hearts defender who won the Scottish Cup while at Tynecastle and is fondly remembered at the club, has revealed he spoke to Giakoumakis before he made his final decision on whether to move to Glasgow and told him that he would be well suited to the game in Scotland. Now he wants to see more from the Celtic hitman, and expects more is to come when he is up to full speed next season.

Discussing the Greek strikers move to Celtic, Fyssas said the following, as reported by Glasgow Times.

“When I heard Celtic were interested in him and he wanted to move there I spoke to him about Scottish football. I told him that the Scottish league would be perfect for him.

“He’s strong, he’s clever, he scores goals, he works for the team and he had the right experience to do well. But I think he can do even better next season with Celtic. I hope he doesn’t do well against Hearts and I joked with him not to play so well against my old club. But he did so well and I wish him all the best in Scotland”.

IMAGO / PA Images. Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates scoring his sides fifth goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park.: Saturday May 14, 2022. Photo Jane Barlow

With all but one of Giakoumakis’ 17 goals coming after the winter break, Fyssas thinks there is much more to come from the striker, a sentiment I imagine Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou will also agree with. He continued:

“For Greek football we need guys like him to be playing well in a good league. It’s in his hands. He has to show to everybody that he is stable in his performances and he is getting better. It’s important to see his performances next season.

“What is important for Giorgos is to show everyone who he is, and try to be better. Let’s see how he is going to react. I believe there is a lot more to come from him. If he can avoid injuries, get a good preparation, live a nice life, he’s a family guy so I’m not afraid for him.”

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With Greece currently 55th in the FIFA world rankings, they could do with Giakoumakis firing on all cylinders on the international stage. With Nations League matches against Cyprus, Kosovo and Northern Ireland coming up they need their top players on form. Fyssas expects him to make an impact, and show that he has already become a better player for the short time he has spent at Celtic so far.

“He’s an experienced player Giorgos. Every year will give him more confidence, and that’s especially true for goalscorers. They feed off the goals. It is important for him to rest his body after the national team games, because we now have four national team games.

“Then he will have to focus on his club and his performances. If he does that, I believe he will play even better next season.”

Giorgos Giakoumakis of Celtic scores celebrates (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With Giorgos coming to Belfast next week, I expect him to get quite the reception from the fans at Windsor Park everytime he touches the ball.

Many fans of theRangers took an instant dislike to the Greek striker when he made his infamous ‘Celtic are better in department’ statement and went on to claim Celtic would win the title. He was correct of course, but his ‘bravado’ (or honesty) didn’t go down well with fans of the Ibrox club.

I doubt the negative reception he receives next week will affect him, although I am sure it will leave his teammates bemused as to why he is so hated in Belfast!

Conall McGinty

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