Giorgos Giakoumakis looks likely to come straight back into Celtic XI for Ross County

By David Walton

April 19, 2022

Giorgos Giakoumakis looks primed to come straight back into the Celtic starting XI this Sunday for Ross County away.

Giakoumakis missed last Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers. Many pointed out post-match that this was one of the key reasons the Hoops came up short – particularly Chris Sutton.

He undoubtedly was of course. Celtic didn’t often manage to get Daizen Maeda or Kyogo Furuhashi in behind and often tried to play the ball into the feet of the striker.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But now that the game is behind us, all eyes are now on when we’ll be able to bring Giakoumakis back into the fold. Ange stated in the build-up to the Rangers game that the prognosis wasn’t anything too serious and that he would likely be back for this Sunday’s game against County [Scottish Daily Express].

And so long as no further setbacks arise, we would highly expect him to come immediately back into the XI this weekend. Especially with Maeda struggling in the centre-forward role and Kyogo still lacking match sharpness.

With so many urging the big Greek’s return to the starting line-up, Ange won’t use Sunday as a day to experiment if he’s fit and ready to go.

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Giorgos Giakoumakis is Celtic’s first-choice striker for title run-in

There was such a clamour for Kyogo to come back and understandably so. He continues to be such a key asset for us in our title run-in. He’ll likely get a start here and there and make an impact from the bench on a regular basis.

However, at this point, we’ve been on a fine run of form with Giakoumakis in the team. We’ve modified our style to suit his attributes and I believe that was shown on Sunday. We struggled to modify back to a striker that likes to get in behind.

We know how effective the former VVV-Venlo man can be against Scottish Premiership opposition. He can cause Ross County, Rangers, Hearts, Dundee United, and Motherwell a host of problems. Watch the difference in our forward play should he make a return on Sunday. You’ll see the ball stick so much more efficiently, and not just because we’re playing lesser opposition.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Kyogo will have a part to play between now and the summer. But he won’t be given the chance to take the number 1 spot until pre-season. We can’t go chopping and changing at this point unless absolutely necessary.

It’s not so much that Celtic rely on Giakoumakis to be successful. We know that’s not the case. But at the minute, we’re playing a style of football that needs someone of his mould to be the focal point.

So expect him to come straight back into the XI if fit on Sunday. And all indications are that he will be.

In other news, Chris Jullien earns big plaudits from Lennoxtown coach after Celtic B outing