"I don't like making excuses"; Ange addresses McCarthy and Giakoumakis Celtic progress

By David Walton

November 15, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has explained why both James McCarthy and Giorgos Giakoumakis have struggled to make an impression this season.

McCarthy was signed back in August on the same day as Celtic number 1 Joe Hart. The Republic of Ireland international has failed to make any form of positive impact with fans concerned over how sluggish he’s looked in his 9 appearances this term [Transfermarkt].

Giakoumakis, meanwhile, made his debut in a cameo against Bayer Leverkusen. However, he’s only bagged one goal in 8 Hoops outings as he continues to be a distant second-choice to Kyogo Furuhashi up top [Transfermarkt].

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

There’s no real sign of either man stepping up in the coming weeks. And speaking at a fan media conference this afternoon, Postecoglou explained why they’ve struggled as he urged for time in a media conference 67 Hail Hail attended today:

“I don’t like making excuses for the players, but especially with guys like James McCarthy Giakoumakis is in that category as well – we signed them when they weren’t with clubs. They had already left their football clubs, they hadn’t had a pre-season and they’d been training on their own. The difference between them and a Kyogo is that he came straight off a season. Jota was doing a pre-season. The likes of Carter-Vickers was still playing with Tottenham.

“All these players have hit the ground running and are doing well either had a pre-season or had one with us. Liel Abada is another who came in very early, got a good pre-season with us. But James and Giakoumakis are probably the two who came in late and hadn’t done pre-season. For any footballer or team pre-season is the most important part of the year, so we’ve just got to be patient with them and give them time to get up to speed.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“They’re both training hard, they’re ready and available. They’ve both had some little injuries which isn’t surprising considering they hadn’t had a pre-season. They’re here, working hard, and James will get an opportunity. I’m sure when he does he’ll be ready and he’ll take it.”

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You can’t deny Celtic’s summer work was absolutely sublime. Kyogo, Abada, and Jota make up 3 of the best pieces of business we’ve done in some time. Not to mention bagging Hart for £1m from Spurs [Sky Sports]. Incredible stuff from Ange and former CEO Dom McKay to get those deals over the line.

However, as you would expect, not every deal has gone according to plan. There was both excitement and pessimism when McCarthy signed. The latter stemmed from his injury woes during his Crystal Palace days combined with the fact he had spent so long out in the wilderness.

Giakoumakis, meanwhile, came with a lot more expectation and hope attached to his name. As well as the fact he cost £2.5m [Sky Sports], he also finished last season as the top scorer in the Eredivisie with VVV-Venlo. Impressive stuff, but he hasn’t managed to transfer that form to Glasgow so far.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ange is clearly trying to defend his players. Talking about not having a pre-season is all well and good if we’re still in September. But it feels as though the same excuses for both are now continuing to be rolled out.

When the duo signed, the plan wasn’t to have them ready in late November or before Christmas. A transitional period was of course going to be allowed by the supporters. But we all expected an impact from both by now. We haven’t gotten that, and you can tell Ange is slightly disappointed in both so far.

Hopefully, they can push past their respective starts and finally get some momentum going in a Celtic jersey. If we’re to have a successful campaign both domestically and in Europe, we need a reliable squad. McCarthy and Giakoumakis still have big roles to play.

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