“If you give him service, he will score goals,” Pierre van Hooijdonk on Giakoumakis

Pierre van Hooijdonk reckons that Giorgos Giakoumakis could bag his first Celtic goal tomorrow afternoon in the 3.30pm Europa League tie against Hungarian Champions Ferencvaros.

The former Celt watched the Greek striker bang in the goals last season for Dutch relegation bound VVV Venlo and was mightily impressed with what he saw and that gives him a better idea on what we can expect from Giakoumakis now that he’s fit enough to contribute in the Hoops. Giakoumakis scored 26 goals to end the season as the Eredivisie’s top goalscorer and van Hooijdonk expects something similar to happen at Celtic.

Pierre Van Hooijdonk powers a header towards the Motherwell goal.

Ange Postecoglou brought Giakoumakis off the bench in the closing stages of the 2-0 win over Motherwell and indicated that he will be looking at giving the big striker the opportunity to make his full debut soon and that might just happen tomorrow against the Hungarian visitors, who eliminated Celtic from the Champions League at the qualifying stages in August 2020, in a match played behind closed. doors.

Yesterday their manager Peter Stoger warned his players to expect a very different experience at Celtic Park this time around with the fans being present.

Pierre van Hooijdonk

Speaking to David Friel at Scottish Sun, big Pierre has this to say about Celtic’s summer signing: “Giakoumakis is a very good finisher. I was really impressed with him last season. The standard of his goals was very high over the course of the season.

“As a striker myself, I always like to look at the idea behind goals and Giakoumakis makes really good choices. He is good in the air and scored from headers. He chipped goalkeepers, he scored with power and it would be left or right foot.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he can score goals for Celtic. Giakoumakis is a penalty-box player but last season he hardly got the chance to play in that area.

Giorgos Giakoumakis  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“VVV were a poor team and got relegated. But he got 26 goals in 30 games — it was an amazing record. I’d say he only had about 35 chances to score and he took 26 of them.

“Giakoumakis was very clinical and that is why Celtic have a good striker if they play to his strengths.

“If Giakoumakis can score 26 goals in the Eredivisie in a poor team, what can he do in a Celtic side that is attacking all the time? If you give him service, he will score goals. He’s not Odsonne Edouard. He isn’t a player who can create chances on his own, but I had the same problem during my career!”

Pierre also gave his thoughts on why the big Dutch clubs failed to sign their league’s top goalscorer and instead allowed Celtic to swoop in with a £2.5m bid to bring the goalscorer to Glasgow.

“It’s one of those funny things in football. When a new player comes to a smaller club, people always question whether he can do it at a higher level. Giakoumakis is one of those players. The bigger clubs probably wanted to see him keep doing it for another season.

Giorgos Giakoumakis (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I am sure if he had stayed at VVV and scored 20-plus goals, then the Dutch teams would have taken him. But I know that Celtic weren’t the only foreign club keen on him and I think it was a smart signing. The transfer fee wasn’t massive and in another 12 months they maybe wouldn’t have been able to afford him.”

van Hooijdonk watched Celtic eliminate AZ Alkmaar from the Europa League qualifier and noted the vast changes that have happened this season under Ange Postecoglou, believing that this was inevitable for his old club, even if the ten had been won last season.

Giorgos Giakoumakis. Photo Andrew Milligan

“The change was coming. Celtic had been so successful but the squad needed to be transformed. However, when so many players come and go, it always takes time for the new team to come together.

“I watched Celtic against AZ and I also saw the Old Firm (sic) game at Ibrox. There have been some good performances and bad ones, but that was to be expected.

“Right now, it’s impossible to say whether Celtic are capable of taking the title back again. But they can definitely score a lot of goals and when Giakoumakis is fully fit, he will make a big impact.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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