When Karim Benzema scores a Panenka against Manchester City is the Champions League semi-final – away from home – the execution is lauded as a moment of supreme skill and bravery under the utmost pressure. When Odsonne Edouard does the same in a Scottish Cup Final, our wee country decries it as ‘disrespectful’.
Only in Scotland. Or more accurately only in Scotland if it’s a Celtic player doing so.
Giorgos Giakoumakis got a taste of that this season, when after being interviewed post-match in February, the Celtic striker proclaimed Celtic were better than theRangers in every department and the title was destined for the Parkhead trophy room. God forbid a player should proclaim his confidence in his teammates and manager in public!
Instead Giakoumakis got the Edouard treatment, as his self-confidence was decried as arrogance, and the quotes deemed the most controversial since Marie Antoinette told Edouard and Benzema’s predecessors that they should pop down their local Carrefour for some Croquembouche if the bread had run out.
Turns out the big fella wasn’t being disrespectful at all; he was just being honest. And what’s more he was also the man to score the goal to put the tin lid on proving himself right, as Giakoumakis scored the goal at Tannadice which ultimately won Celtic the title.
Speaking at yesterday’s Media Conference, Celtic’s Greek bearing goalscoring gifts was just advising Scottish football to beware, after all he told them it was going to happen.
“I have been proved correct – thank God! It was about believing in my team and nothing else. I was being honest. I wasn’t trying to pick a fight with anyone – it was what I believed. Could I say I told you so? Exactly! We won the title so it was the truth.
“It wasn’t something we did not expect, to be honest. We worked hard every single day from the first to the last and tried to improve ourselves in every training session and game. It was all worth it.”
It was somewhat fitting that Giakoumakis was the man to score the goal that got Celtic over the line, after all the previously much maligned striker’s goals have had a huge bearing on just where this league title ended up – and it appears he fairly enjoyed the scenes his goal sparked off.
“It was really enjoyable at the ground on Wednesday and back at Celtic Park afterwards. But that was just part one of the party. Now we have the big one when we get the trophy.
“It was something really nice to score the goal. I celebrated the goal as normal as I didn’t think that would be the one to secure the title.
“In the end we all celebrated the same way because it did not matter who scored. But it was really nice to do it in front of our fans. They were amazing for us and I dedicate the goal to them.”
It’s a nice touch for Giakoumakis to dedicate the goal to the fans and to point out that to him it didn’t matter who scored it as long as someone did. You’d almost think there was an element of humility in the Greek striker’s character after all!
I wonder if he had some cake alongside that champagne to celebrate – or would that be too exuberant for Scottish football?
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