SPFL coach lauds "brilliant" Celtic striker Giakoumakis; explains why he's come into form
Fast becoming one of the more insightful characters in the SPFL, Livingston coach Marvin Bartley knows a thing or two about Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side, and players like the red-hot Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Bartley’s praise for the Celtic manager and his side has been consistent. He already said he was particularly impressed by Ange’s decision to come to Parkhead by himself, without extra staff. It’s about tactics too, though, and he believes the Celtic players have worked hard to adapt to current in-form striker Giorgos Giakoumakis.
With 8 goals to his name since the start of the year, the Greek striker has earned a recall to his national team. And he’s proving to be a focal point for Celtic, albeit not in a traditional sense.
Bartley said on Clyde Superscoreboard last night [16/3, 18:48]: “I think [Ange] quickly realised that they have to play differently without Kyogo.
“When he’s in the team, the things he does, they don’t have another striker that can do that. They have other good strikers who have other strengths, and have began to play to them.
“That’s why Giakoumakis has come into good form now, because they’ve realised how to play with him. He’s not Kyogo, he’s not going to get in the build-up play, into the box too often. But he’s been brilliant for them.
“He started slowly. He’s not a target man, though he is a big guy. He wants the ball at his feet, and he scored two goals against Dundee United to take them through in the Cup, also.”
Celtic star Giakoumakis is rightly earning praise, but tactical point from Marvin Bartley is an interesting one
Marvin Bartley’s bang on, and we covered this to an extent when we talked about Daizen Maeda’s impact on the game the other night.
He’s tall, is Giakoumakis. Nobody is disputing that. However, profiling him as a target man is inaccurate. Additionally, if I hear “good touch for a big man”, I’m coming for you.
The players around Giakoumakis have figured out that he’s not necessarily a target man in a traditional sense, just because he’s a bit bigger. Instead, he’s excellent with the ball around hip height, or being played on the deck. An instinctive finisher, he can header the ball strongly. But his lack of recoil when shooting and ability to finish first time from lower, drilled crosses is impressive.
The goal that Siegrist bundled might have looked like a happy accident. But Maeda delivered that ball exactly to where he expected and wanted Giakoumakis to be for Celtic’s second against Dundee United. Similarly, Liam Scales’ pin-point cross for the Greek striker against Alloa Athletic is a great example.
Without Kyogo, Celtic had to play differently. You saw that in the game where Ajeti scored twice against Ross County at Parkhead. Or in any game where Maeda or Giakoumakis are leading the line. Tweaks were needed.
Marvin Bartley and his tactical view of Celtic is the kind of insightful analysis that we’re not getting a whole lot of in Scottish media.
More, please. Because it explains so much about why Celtic are performing the way they are.