Barry Ferguson's comments on Celtic star Giakoumakis are a hilarious miscalculation

By Euan Davidson

March 25, 2022

Rangers legend Barry Ferguson thinks Ibrox defenders will want to be up against Celtic man Giorgos Giakoumakis more than other Bhoys attacking options.

Clearly, he wasn’t watching the last game too closely.

On tonight’s Go Radio Football Show, Simon Donnelly and Barry Ferguson weighed up the options Celtic have. And while Ferguson suggested Celtic do indeed have multiple striking talents, it’s the big Greek striker that Rangers will want to see line up at Ibrox.

Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ferguson said [Go Radio Football Show]: “He’s a danger inside the box but outside the box he’s not the most pleasant on the eye.

“He’s not got the link up. I think if you ask Goldson and Balogun who they want to come up against, it’d be Giakoumakis.

“You can’t argue with his goal scoring record. He’s in the right area at the right time, he has a knack of scoring goals and you can’t take away his return.”

Firstly, the idea that any pair of defenders want to go up against a guy who’s scored 8 in his last 5 games [WhoScored?] is a deeply, deeply interesting one. On goalscoring record alone, he’s the man you surely don’t want to face. Ferguson does admit his record is excellent, but even then.

Secondly, Giakoumakis was superb against Rangers at Celtic Park. Fine, he didn’t score, or assist, but his ability to drag Goldson and Balogun out of position, while wingers came inside, and central midfielders like Hatate lurked around the edge of the box? He may not have been on the score-sheet, but he was crucial.

This is a pretty wild miscalculation on the ex-Alloa manager’s part.

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Barry Ferguson is dead wrong about Celtic star Giorgos Giakoumakis

Statistically, Giakoumakis’ performance didn’t leap off the screen against Rangers, granted.

However, the Greek striker is more than just about numbers. What Celtic did tactically in the last game against Rangers was very telling, and Giakoumakis was a key part.

Celtic like to overload on one side of the pitch, leaving wingers free for 1 on 1s against full-backs. For crosses, Giakoumakis, in his role, darts to the front post, as he did against Rangers, distracting Allan McGregor, while either the opposite winger or a midfielder comes into the space occupied near the far post.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Take Liel Abada’s goal for example. Everything was coming down the left, with Celtic players dominating the space ahead and to the right of McGregor’s goal. That left Abada, essentially unmarked, to waltz through the penalty area to score.

That doesn’t happen by accident. It’s because players like Giakoumakis are willing to do the dirty work, getting physical with defenders, dragging players out to create space, or battling against markers while the ball heads elsewhere. You could see it, to a degree, in Hatate’s first goal, too.

In terms of link-up play, no; Giakoumakis doesn’t necessarily get involved on the ball. But he does off it. He’s been a nightmare to mark, and that’s proven in the goals he’s scored; and the volume of them, too.

So, if Rangers take Ferguson’s advice over Celtic striker Giakoumakis, they could be in for a long afternoon.

That doesn’t bother us one bit.

Read more: 3 top-class left backs who’d slot perfectly into Ange’s Celtic system