Kyogo v Giakoumakis: The Debate That Might Define Celtic’s Whole Season.

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For a brief period at the weekend both of our strikers were on the pitch. It’s rare enough as to be worth commenting on. The manager, though, has shown no interest in trying to shoehorn one of them into an unfamiliar role, and thus play two up front.

I think there are systems where it would definitely work. But those are not the systems which we play, and that’s a fundamental problem with the idea. The potential rewards of finding a way to have them both might be outweighed by the issues it threw up.

That, on its own, is a good reason not to bother finding out. And if we’re not going to find out then the question hangs over us; who is the better striker? Who is the better option? Who should be our recognised starter? Should that term even apply?

The rotation system works, after all. One game you play one and in the next you play the other. Both are capable of coming on as impact substitutes, and it always comforts me to see one of them on the bench as an option if things are tight at the midway point.

But the question as to whether one of them is ultimately a better striker than the other will continue to cause debate. And that debate is raging at the moment.

It’s obvious to regular readers that I think Kyogo, on his game, is the best front man we’ve had since Larsson. He has all the attributes to justify that comparison. His first touch is exquisite. His eye for a goal cannot be denied. His technical ability is second to none.

If you’re asking me who the better overall player is there’s not the least question of that for me. It is the Japanese. But the question as to who the better striker is … well that’s not quite so easy to tell. Because I think Giakoumakis is an exceptional penalty box finisher and that skill-set is different, and some of his attributes are better.

They are tantalising close in the scoring stakes, and even accounting for my belief that Giakoumakis is the better penalty box footballer it’s actually Kyogo who has the higher number of goals; he has 27 of them for Celtic in 46 games. Giakoumakis has 23 goals … but he’s gotten them in only 42 games, so the two are virtually neck and neck.

In the league this season, Kyogo has seven goals in nine matches. Which is phenomenal and makes him a formidable footballer to go up against. Giakoumakis has five goals in eight games; on the surface of it, Kyogo dominates him where it counts.

But Giakoumakis continues to impress me for the instinctive nature of his game. No other player in the league would have gotten on the end of that last minute cross in the St Johnstone match, and his double in the last game means he’s got three in the last two … he’s on an impressive run and the last time he went on a run like that he managed, via exceptional form, to overtake Kyogo as the club’s top scorer in the league last season with 13 goals to his 12.

Now, what’s immediately apparent there is that we’re one quarter of the season in and already Giakoumakis is more than a third of the way to last season’s total and Kyogo is more than halfway towards beating his; they are going to smash through last season’s scoring numbers. I would be amazed if either player finished with less than 25.

Both are lethal and more than capable of that. The race for top scorer looks, to me, as if it’s going to come down to these two. Forget all talk of the Ibrox journeyman; the golden boot winner is almost certainly playing at Celtic Park.

Who of them is it though? And does that earn that player the right to start most games ahead of his striking partner? The answer to that question might be the one on which our season pivots.

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  • Derek Mcwhinnie says:

    Doesn’t bother me which one starts as they are both quality forwards
    For me rotation is OK by me

  • Martin says:

    They’re scoring at a rate that means I’m happy with either currently. One thing I would say though is that both miss a lot of chances. I respect your view about Kyogo, but realistically with the number of chances this current team creates… Larsson would’ve had about 3 goals a game on average. We’re an attacking team who create a ridiculous amount of chances and we have OK to pretty decent strikers. If we had someone of even close to Larsson quality we’d have a goal difference of about 90 right now. (in my opinion of course)

  • Martin H. says:

    Ange realises horses for courses, eventually.

  • Geoff says:

    Same team tomorrow.

  • Effarr says:

    Giakoumakis first half to ”rummel them up” and Kyogo
    second half to finish them off.

    Gio to fish and dig the tatties and Kyo to make the fish suppers.

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