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Celtic: Giorgos Giakoumakis has “proved his worth”

Celtic have been left to reflect on what might have been following another frustrating evening in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with the Old Firm outfit having secured their place at the bottom of Group F after being held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk.

With progression to even the Europa League knockout stages now off the table, it has been proven something of an underwhelming return to life in Europe’s premier competition for Ange Postecoglou’s side, with just two points from their five group games thus far.

The Hoops’ continental journey to date has been a story of missed chances and errant finishing on the whole, with that meeting with Igor Jovicevic’s outfit having been no different as the hosts were once again profligate at Parkhead.

One notable villain on the night was that of striker Kyogo Furuhashi, with the Japanese international continuing his barren run in the competition after notably squandering a guilt-edged chance in the second half, having produced a weak effort straight into the arms of opposition ‘keeper, Anatoliy Trubin.

That has ensured that the former Vissel Kobe man now has just two goals to his name in all competitions since his blistering hat-trick against Dundee United back in August, having been unable to maintain his breathless start to the season in which he netted six goals in his first five league games.

The 27-year-old’s struggles have, however, opened the door for fellow striker Giorgos Giakoumakis to take on a more prominent role in the side of late, with the Greek marksman stealing the headlines having been partnered alongside Kyogo in attack against the Ukrainian outfit.

On what was just his second start in Europe this season, the physical brute more than took his chance having clinically fired home late in the first half, ensuring his record now stands at 20 goals in just 21 starts for the club since his £2.5m arrival last summer.

The 11-cap menace – who scored 17 goals in just 29 games last term – has had to bide his time this season for a regular starting berth, although is beginning to showcase his ruthless finishing prowess.

The £3.6m-rated man – who had scored four goals in his last three Scottish Premiership games heading into last night’s clash – once again “proved his worth” to his manager against Shakhtar – according to Football Scotland’s Mark Hendry – with his match rating of 8.0, as per SofaScore, the highest of any player for either side.

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Journalist Josh Bunting has now suggested that the Bhoys “need to start” the £8.2k-per-week powerhouse as the “main man” in attack moving forward, with Giakoumakis arguably the “best finisher” at Postecoglou’s disposal.

The former Yokohama boss may now need to put his faith in the striker and keep him at the forefront of his side in the coming games, with the former VVV-Venlo man beginning to showcase the prolific form he demonstrated in Holland, having scored 26 Eredivisie goals during the 2020/21 campaign.

With a trip to Livingston to come on Sunday, Giakoumakis no doubt deserves to keep his starting berth.

Article title: Celtic: Giorgos Giakoumakis has “proved his worth”

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