Giorgos Giakoumakis hypes up his Celtic swagger as striker declares ‘my ego is now even bigger’

Giorgos Giakoumakis has never exactly been the shy and retiring type.

He’s already proved that in less than a year at Celtic in which he lit the blue touch paper on an explosive title race with Rangers by claiming the Hoops were “better in every single part of the team” than their rivals just a few weeks back.

Nothing wrong with a bit of self-belief in a player charged with leading the line and firing the goals in front of 60,000 fans every other week.

The Greek hitman happily admits goals feed his ego.

And after his recent strikes helped catapult the Hoops into a six-point lead at the top of the table and landed him the Premiership Player of the Month award he insists he is bursting with belief.

Indeed having fought back from a difficult start to life in Glasgow he admits – in his own unflinching words – his “ego is now even bigger”. Remove a statement. But then Giakoumakis is not any ordinary player.

He’s the man who finished top scorer in the Eredivisie last season despite his side VV-Venlo being relegated after all.

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Yet on arriving in Glasgow the 6ft 1in frontman had to bide his time as injury, Covid and the form of Kyogo Furuhashi reduced his appearances before Christmas to just a couple of starts and seven more appearances off the bench.

The 27-year-old was thrust into the frontline when Furuhashi was sidelined by injury in the Hoops’ last game before the winter break and has responded with 11 goals.

After picking up the monthly award, Giakoumakis said: “I was looking forward to coming here and playing but it was harder than I thought.

“I had an injury and also Covid so I was sick a couple of times. So it was difficult for me to get fit and strong.

“It was a really difficult time but it’s made me even more egoist. My ego is now even bigger.

“I worked even harder. That’s why I’m really strong right now.

“I didn’t feel any pressure because I had confidence in my ability. I knew what I can do.

“I just had to play my game, be myself and not worry about anything else. I feel good about my football.

“The second half of the season has been really good for me. I’m healthy and strong and I’ve tried to give my best on the field.

“I’ve scored some goals – 11 so far in the second part of the season – and I’m looking forward to the goals which will follow. I’m in the best period of my career.

“I hope from now on I will keep scoring a lot of goals for Celtic. I will give my best for them and I hope to have some successful seasons by winning some trophies.”

All of which spells bad news for anyone looking to get in between the Hoops and the treble in the next month and a half.

Victory at Ibrox last week stretched the lead over Rangers to six points with six games to go. And they now have a blockbuster Scottish Cup semi final against Gers just 10 days away.

The former AEK Athens hitman insists red hot derbies back in Greece prepared him for the Old Firm –although the Glasgow version exceeded anything he’s experienced.

And he was quick to praise the impact of boss Ange Postecoglou in helping him settle.

He said: “Since the moment I came here and had this hard time, he was always next to my side and trying to help me and convince me that ‘I believe in you’.

“He told me I just needed to try to get fit and that I was a really important player for him and the team. That was really important to me.

“There are some huge games back in Greece – derbies where the atmosphere is really crazy.

“You get it between Olympiakos, AEK Athens, as well as PAOK and Panathinaikos. They are the four
big teams.

“But the Old Firm is something special – even bigger.

“On Sunday I had to close my ears and focus on my team.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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