The sign that late Shakhtar miss won't faze Celtic star Giorgos Giakoumakis
There wouldn’t have been many more frustrated players walking off the park after last night’s 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk than Giorgos Giakoumakis.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a superb nine months in 2022, having kick-started his Celtic career at the turn of the year.
Despite a frustrating start to life at Parkhead, the frontman persevered and ended up becoming a key asset in Ange Postecoglou’s forward line last campaign.
With Kyogo Furuhashi returning to full fitness at the beginning of the 2022/23 season, Giakoumakis has found starts a little harder to come by due to the brilliant form of the Japanese internationalist.
He may not have been making as many starts, but the Greek striker is still having a big impact on this Celtic side and has already showcased his importance on several occasions.
When the time comes for Kyogo to be replaced after the hour mark, the Celtic support has full faith that his replacement, Giakoumakis, will provide quality in a different manner.
So, with the Bhoys chasing a winner, Ange Postecoglou last night introduced the former AEK Athens man to the game in place of Kyogo.
Giakoumakis continued to show his threat and gave the Shakhtar defence trouble, with the Ukrainian side on the ropes and holding on for a point.
Arguably the Hoops’ best chance of the game fell to the feet of the Celtic substitution, who had the opportunity to effectively wrap up all three points at the 84th-minute mark.
Giakoumakis had time to take a touch inside the penalty area before striking a left-footed effort towards goal. At this point in the game, this was exactly who you wanted the chance to fall to.
His powerful shot looked to be heading for the top corner. But unfortunately, the striker hadn’t gotten his foot round the ball enough and missed the target.
It was one of many golden opportunities that Celtic had on the night that could have wrapped up all three points, and as mentioned, no one inside the Legia Warsaw Stadium will be more frustrated than Giakoumakis himself.
However, one thing we have learned about the striker is missing a guilt edge opportunity won’t affect his confidence going into the next few games.
We know this because the Greek internationalist has arguably been in an even worse situation, having missed the chance to deliver three points from the penalty spot in a game against Livingston last October.
As many supporters will remember, the frontman stepped up and had his tame effort from 12-yards saved by the Livi goalkeeper.
At such an early stage of his Celtic career, that could have easily killed the confidence of Giakoumakis, and many predicted that it would.
The ex-Eredivese top goalscorer even suffered yet more injury issues in the first half of last campaign, in what had been a disappointing start to life in Glasgow.
But, the big striker bounced back and showed his worth to the Parkhead faithful, going on to have a key role in the Bhoys’ title success, finishing the season as the joint top scorer in the Scottish Premiership.
So, although Celtic’s number seven will be just as annoyed as anyone at missing that opportunity last night, there is no doubting he has the mental strength and confidence to bounce back, starting with Sunday’s trip to take on St Mirren.