Maybe it was the fact that, between Covid-19 and the calamities of last season, there hadn’t been such an occasion since 2019. Perhaps added piquancy was provided by the send-offs for two of the club’s most decorated and longest-serving overseas players, Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton. Possibly the Ange Postecoglou factor played its part from him, the Australian beloved by the Celtic faithful possessing the presence and oratory skills to have a mass crowd eating out of his hand from him.
Likewise, the glamorous goalfest of a performance that produced a 6-0 drubbing of luckless Motherwell. Or, in the final analysis, it might have been down to a last home league encounter that witnessed Celtic bathing in championship glory appearing inconceivable in mid-September. A point when the, on-going, comprehensive squad rebuild had resulted in only three wins and a draw in their own backyard, and three straight away defeats from the first seven Premiership encounters. Troubles that gave way to a run of 32 games without loss. Whatever was poured into the mix, it made the club’s latest trophy day shindig one of the ages, a riot of noise, color and heart-string tugging.
Could Kyogo and Giakoumakis form a central frontline partnership to be a modern-day Larsson and Hartson combo?
The scoring returns of Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis were thrown into focus by the pair proving lethal in each helping themselves to doubles on Saturday. They did so with Furuhashi giving way to his Greek team-mate on the 62nd minute mark. That is how the duo tended to operate this season; on an either or basis as the solitary central striker. Indeed, injury issues meant that rarely were both been available at the same time, and cost each just under half the season. The fact that Furuhashi has 20 goals and Giakoumakis 17 despite that situation, does lead to wondering what they could plunder were they used in tandem.
Ange Postecoglou has no history across his coaching career of playing two up-front. However, it would be intriguing were he willing to tweak his system. The two players – both potent finishers, in different ways – would appear suited to dovetailing. Furuhashi’s game is all about constant movement and running power. Giakoumakis, in contrast, is often a fixed-point, bustling penalty box lurker. Celtic, in the Martin O’Neill era of the early 2000s, had enormous joy when linking Henrik Larsson and John Hartson. Now Furuhashi is not at the Swede’s level-who is he? – and the same is true when it comes to comparisons between Giakoumakis and Hartson. But they are similar types and it can only be wondered what devastation could be wrought were bold coach Postecoglou to deploy Furuhashi and Giakoumakis as a twin forward line.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.