Gutsy Giorgos Giakoumakis embodies Celtic spirit as Ange Postecoglou reveals striker’s unflinching dedication


Proud Ange Postecoglou insists the character and mentality of Giorgos Giakoumakis typifies the gutsy resilience of Celtic.

The Parkhead boss left Tynecastle thrilled after his new-look team grabbed a priceless win over Hearts.

Postecoglou’s men had to survive a late penalty miss from home hitman Liam Boyce to get over the line and stay within four points of the Premiership summit.

But the manager had huge praise for debutant Matt O’Riley as well as his goal heroes Reo Hatate and Giakoumakis.

Giorgos Giakoumakis wheels away after scoring against Hearts

The Japanese scored a spectacular first goal for the club and Giakoumakis made it two-in-two games as he bagged the eventual winner.

The Greek is standing tall in the absence of injured top-scorer Kyogo Furuhashi and Postecoglou outlined the desire of the hitman and his colleagues to cope with absences and keep pushing.

He said: “That’s what I mean about character and mentality. I have [Giakoumakis] is another one who had a tough first half of the year for sure.

“He worked hard to get himself fit during the little break we had. We gave the guys a few days off, but he kept going along with James [Forrest] and Chris Jullien to be ready and I thought he was great.

“He scored not just a great goal, but worked awfully hard and he had to because unfortunately at the moment we don’t have somebody to give him a bit of a breather towards the end of the game.

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“He is showing people why I brought him. He has a presence about him and in the box he can score goals. That’s his strength of him.

“It’s a testament to his character. I said after he missed the penalty against Livingston that that’s the burden you carry being the No.9 here at Celtic.

“You are expected to be here for the big moments and score goals and that’s what he wants.

“He didn’t shy away after that happened, he worked hard to get himself fit and be ready.

“I’m very proud of the players, we had a bit of a challenge, it’s not an easy place.

“It’s probably the one thing that is probably a little bit underestimated in this team, they are just a really resilient group of players.

“There were plenty of reasons for them to have excuses, but I thought with the changes we had to make our football was still great.

“We could have finished the game off earlier, we had some good chances, but once they got the goal obviously the crowd got behind them.

“I still thought that we handled it really well.

“If you chart the course of this team from the first time we were here, we haven’t really had a smooth run to be honest, but I don’t mind because it builds resilience and reveals character.”

Postecoglou was also delighted by Hatate’s thunderbolt and said: “He has got more you know, he is just beginning.

“It’s not easy because I have set a pretty high bar after the first game. But he is a very determined young man to reach the top.

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“It’s pleasing for me because we bought a few guys in their early 20s who really are ambitious and they will improve and get better and be a really good nucleus moving forward.

“You’ve got to keep it in context, Matt came in a few days ago and I thought he was outstanding. He’s had 70 minutes of football in the last month. It was brilliant.

“Everyone knows the players we have missing are significant absences and there were guys out there who had to step up. And they did.”

Celtic had to dig deep late on and survive the Boyce penalty, but Postecoglou said: “When the crowd gets behind them, you feel like you are probably under more pressure than you actually are because Joe [Hart] didn’t have that many saves to make in comparison to Craig [Gordon].

“It was a cracking game and I’m really pleased.”


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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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