Former Ajax striker's brilliant remarks on Celtic hero Giorgos Giakoumakis
Former Ajax and Greece hero Nikos Machlas has lauded Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis after a wonderful effort against Kosovo on Sunday night.
Giakoumakis was thrown on by Gus Poyet for the final 20 minutes of the Greeks’ Nations League struggle. Poetically, he would then produce an outrageous header that gave Greece the breakthrough and would see them go on to win 2-0.
The goal had plenty of praise being showered onto him by the media over in his homeland. It was also Giorgos’ first goal for his country since his debut back in 2020.
And former Greek international Machlas, who sent his country to the 1994 World Cup with an iconic effort against Russia, has been talking up the Celtic forward even if he feels his came in slightly bigger circumstances.
As quoted by Athlitiko, Machlas said: “It’s not the same circumstances [as his goal vs Russia]. There were not 80,000 people and it wasn’t the same match. We were playing against Kosovo. But if we talk purely as an effort, it’s a very technical goal.
“The timing shows the striker and Giakoumakis has it. He does his job well. I’m talking purely about the conditions. George was where he needed to be. The player I insist has very good timing, we’re talking about a reverse header – terribly difficult.
“George reminds me of me at 27. I started early, at 20 I was different, I was playing a lot out of the area, on the wing, making actions and creating play. In Holland later on I realized that I have a different role. Giakoumakis reminds me of my style. He’s a player that if you feed him, the opposing defense will feel him strongly.”
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This was an extremely vital camp for Giakoumakis and his international ambitions. Brought back into the Greek squad by Gus Poyet back in March, the Celtic striker had yet to find the net despite positive performances.
However, it’s not just about the quality of his effort that will help him either. It’s also about the timing involved too. Heading into the closing stages against Kosovo, Greece needed a shot in the arm.
Giakoumakis was the one to provide it, and now he’s able to enjoy the positive press that goes with it along with the satisfaction in ending his goalless run for his country.
Moving forward, Celtic supporters will just be happy that he’s fit and ready to go for pre-season. Granted, Giakoumakis will likely arrive late due to his international commitments this summer, but it won’t be long to get him back up to speed ahead of the new season.
Seeing him be such a physical presence on the international stage is certainly reassuring ahead of our European campaign next season. Holding the ball up successfully is going to be a key aspect of any success we have in the UEFA Champions League.
But it’s morale-boosting for Giakoumakis to hear praise from such a big figure of Greek football. Hopefully, it does wonders for his confidence.