Today, Celtic’s Greek Bhoy Came Through In A Big, Big Way

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Well was it worth the wait? If you were basing it on the importance of the goals, it would be hard to argue that Giorgios Giakoumakis picked the perfect day in which to show up for, and do, the business.

The first “perfect” hat-trick from a Celtic player that I can remember since Moussa Dembele scored one against the Ibrox club in Rodgers’ first season wasn’t just about three points; it was, as Michael Stewart said, effectively his “arrival” as a big, big player.

I’ve been singing his praises for a while now; his game has clearly been developing as he’s settled into what Ange wanted him to do. His season as the top scorer in the Dutch league marked him out as a natural finisher and I was amazed that so many wrote him off, so early, as being some kind of flop. It was obvious that this guy would do a job for us.

He has suffered from being injured. He suffered from being second string to an outstanding player in Kyogo. He suffered because at Celtic no player gets a settling in period where the media is concerned; they are forever looking for him to fail. The appalling thing is how many Celts in the media were so quick to jump to negative conclusions.

But as the weeks have gone by he has grown into the job he’s been given and even the signing of Maeda, which people assumed would seem him relegated to third pick, has not worked out that way at all. I said before the Ibrox club came to town that we would enjoy watching him that night; he wasn’t amongst the scorers but I thought he scared the living daylights out of their backline and had a storming game … and he’s grown in stature since.

He gives us something none of the other strikers does; he is physically imposing and commanding in the box. He uses his strength brilliantly. More importantly, although a lot of people were giving him a hard time for missing chances anyone who understands the game knows that for a striker the key thing is getting in those positions in the first place.

Feed one of those players enough and he will score goals. Lots of them. A good striker will miss chances but as long as he keeps getting into positon for them coaches will select them and they will be correct to do it. He is an absolute natural as his goals today showed.

Today was a critical moment in the title race and not only because they dropped points and we were good enough to capitalise on them. It is now clear that we have a player, in Giakoumakis, who scares defences and knows where the net is. Those who were quick to dismiss Celtic as a lesser team without Kyogo upfront now have two causes to pause and think again; Maeda already looks like someone worth the money and the big Greek is starting to look like the kind of footballer who we’ve been short of for a long, long time.

A hat-trick can make a striker. A perfect hat-trick is a rare and beautiful thing. One of such importance is worth more than just points. It is a statement. It says that this is a footballer worthy of respect from the opposition … and even fear.

What a squad we are developing here, and this guy is now a big, big player in it. That today was the game he’s been due, the game where he showed us the player we paid millions of pounds for and who, in Holland last season, was a sensation.

It’s a huge moment for him and for us. The big man has “arrived” at last and he is only going to get better. There are a lot more big performances – and goals – to come from him.

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  • harold shand says:

    9 point swing since the break

    The Dutchman better hope his team don’t capitulate on Thursday night

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Great article as always… However I’d have added an apostrophe to the ‘celts’ in the m*#dia (swear word that)

    They might’ve got played for The Hoops and profess to Love Celtic but The Devils pound is a powerful thing indeed in not so Bonnie football Scotland !

  • Bob (original) says:

    That hat-trick will give Giakoumakis a huge confidence boost,

    and Kyogo having healthy competition is no bad thing either.

    There will still be off days for players / the team before season end,

    but the great team spirit will get us there!

  • Garry Cowan says:

    Your absolutely right if he wasn’t getting into those positions we should have been worrying , this confidence boost could hopefully see him run riot

  • Damian says:

    I heard one or two of the Celtic podcasts saying he was (something like) ‘obviously third pick’ in recent weeks. I couldn’t understand what basis they were making that inference on, given his performances and the manager’s selections.

    In any case, excellent stuff from him today.

  • Roonsa says:

    It would be churlish to be critical after today. We won, the huns didn’t. Brilliant. Giakoumakis took all 3 goals wonderfully. I am delighted for the big guy.

    Positives from today (other than the obvious). Dundee parked the bus and Celtic have shown in the past that they do not know what to do when teams do that at CP. Today we scored 3 goals and they were scored at times when we really needed them. Also Giakoumakis turning up was brilliant to see.

    Negatives. Set pieces again. Why are Celtic so poor at them? Both defensively and offensively. The first one, from a corner, the ball bounces in the box before the Dundee man slots it home. How can that happen? The second one is a better goal from a Dundee persepctive as it’s a great ball and header but this is Celtic all over the back.

    Happy as Larry but that was as clear a display you could have to show that we are not there yet. Nowhere near it. But in Ange we trust. The changes were right today and came at the right time.

    Mon the Hoops.

    • Damian says:

      Set pieces are interesting. Last season, we conceded as many goals that way as we had the previous season. It wasn’t really the difference. The difference was the amount of goals we lost from teams being able to simply pass their way through our midfield. The main issue last season seemed to be insisting on playing Brown despite the fact that he just wasn’t able to cover the ground.

      This season we’re conceding far fewer goals and chances from set pieces, which isn’t to say it’s not a weakness, but not necessarily one that’s worth getting overly concerned about. Every team conceded SOME goals from set pieces across a season.

      Yesterday in particular: Dundee are physically taller and stronger. Set piece situations will naturally favour them (both in attack and defence). Our players are smaller but far better technicians, in the main. And so for the most part, we play to keep the ball in open play. The manager could target taller players in his recruitment but for the most part this might have the aggregated consequence of sacrificing the average technical ability of the side. The wind yesterday also seemed to play a part in both of the goals conceded. The ball held up in the air for an unusually long time for the first, it seemed to swerve on its way past Hart’s dive for the second. Shit happens.

      Celtic’s defensive record is the best in the league. It concedes fewer goals and fewer chances than anyone else.

  • John S says:

    Great day for the Big Man.
    Celtic need to take stock of attacking and defending set-pieces, particularly corners. What do attackers like, what do defenders dislike ? The open play is exciting but the set-pieces don’t exactly ignite the fans with anticipation, which they should do, either in attack or counter-attack.

  • John S says:

    Another League win over the line, the points that will matter. There’s no Divine right to these. Fluidity in strategy will mean that Celtic will need intelligent players willing to play ‘in goals’ if they’re asked. The manager and backroom staff will learn, of faults and successes, game by game. Whether by fortune or design, Celtic are on an inexorable path to further success.

  • Jimmy says:

    The perfect Hat trick. Left foot, right foot and header. Well done big fella.
    Wasn’t the best performance but result is what matters as it resulted in us stretching our lead.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    It’s all about wining 3 points if we play great football that’s good but if we have to grind out a result also good so we’ll done celtic and the hatrick hero just keep wining celtic.

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