Recently, myself and some of the folks on my supporter’s bus had a discussion about the best Celtic XI we’ve ever seen. Each person had to pick their own, based on footballers they had actually watched in the flesh.
As we were throwing our teams about – my own was Forster, Lustig, Elliot, Van Dijk, Tierney, Lambert, McStay, Nakamura, Moravcik, Larsson and Kyogo – someone suggested that at least a couple of those might not be valid.
The reason? Because in order to pick a Best XI there would need to be a “minimum service” requirement.
I found that a little absurd at first, but in fact it’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard. There should be a requirement like that before someone can be considered a major figure at a club, even when what we’re discussing isn’t earth-shattering stuff.
To listen to Giorgios Giakoumakis, you’d think he thought he belonged in every one of those teams.
You’d think that this was a club icon, a legend of unparalleled ability. His latest rant about Celtic including demanding more respect than he got from his manager and the people running the place and the assertion that “I was like a god for the fans.”
All of that suggests to me an out-of-control ego and someone who is very good at demanding respect without actually giving much of it back to the rest of the people at the club. A lot of these guys are good players, but some of them can make a real mess of the dressing room.
There’s no indication that that this is what happened, but the idea that he was forced out of Celtic is ridiculous. No such thing happened. He wanted to go and he went.
And why did he want to go? He wanted to go because he wasn’t getting that “respect”. Not only that, but he showed his own lack of it when he went on Instagram and bitched about it to the world.
That’s not cool at any club; remember what we all thought that day? “That’s him finished with the manager.” Ange Postecoglou was not going to accept that.
I thought the big guy was great.
As good a natural finisher as I’ve seen at Celtic Park. But he spent a lot of time out injured and he was never as good a player as Kyogo. As a backup he was tremendous and would still be doing a job for us right now but for his own selfishness.
And this is the thing; Brendan Rodgers would have found a way to keep this guy at the club. I genuinely believe that.
Rodgers was facing a dressing room where any number of places wanted to leave, but he convinced them of their value and he talked them into staying. Matt O’Riley was in the same boat as Giakoumakis, not playing as often as he’d wanted to, not feeling he was reaching his true potential, and I think he’d have gone.
Brendan Rodgers would have gotten Giakoumakis not only into the team on a more regular basis but firing on all cylinders.
So the irony of it is that if he loved Celtic that much he’d have only had to stay a while longer and he’d have been a more central character.
A god to the fans. Jesus wept. He was barely at Celtic Park long enough to get his name on a locker and he thinks he was on the level of a Larsson. Or a Kyogo.
That’s crazy, and if that egotism was on display across his time there that must have been hard to bear for the people around him, even if he was doing the job on the park.
I had wanted him to stay, even though I knew he wasn’t going to at that point in time. I thought it was just another example of the kind of disloyalty that is rampant all across the game. If that’s the kind of guy he is, that’s cool.
But he ought not to try and kid people who have seen and heard every variation of this rap, going back a long way.
He had a signed contract.
Nobody can force a guy with a signed contract to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Was his life made a misery at Celtic Park? No. Was he victimised? No. Was he ostracised or marginalised or picked on? No. So he’s talking crap.
I am glad for the big guy doing so well in America, because he gave us a good, if short, spell at the club and scored a lot of goals.
His success in the States reflects well on our ability to spot players and make them better. But no-one is going to put him on any “Best XI I’ve ever watched in the Hoops” list, no matter what mad idea he has in his head.