GIORGOS GIAKOUMAKIS overcame a false start to complete the Premiership campaign as joint top scorer.
Celtic’s powerhouse Greek striker, who joined in a £2.5million switch from Dutch side VVV-Venlo in August, claimed just one goal in the first half of the season.
However, after medical work had been carried out on a knee problem, Giakoumakis hit the ground running after the turn of the year and hoisted his strike rate to 17, including hat-tricks against Dundee and Ross County at Parkhead.
Thirteen of his tally came as the Hoops reclaimed their league title to make it ten championship successes in 11 years.
Giakoumakis brought down the curtain on his first term in Scotland with a double salvo in the 6-0 rout of Motherwell at all-singing, all-dancing Parkhead on Saturday. Kyogo Furuhashi collected his 20th goal since his £4.6million arrival from Vissel Kobe with 12 of them coming in the Premiership.
NUMBER SIXTEEN…Giorgos Giakoumakis athletically prepares to launch an overhead-kick beyond Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly to make it 5-0 at Parkhead on Saturday.
NUMBER SEVENTEEN…Giakoumakis pounces again with Kelly stranded to claim the sixth in the Hoops romp.
The 27-year-old Greece international hitman shared the top marksman accolade with Ross County’s Regan Charles-Cook – and he insists he will do better in the new season.
“Do I have unfinished business? Yes,” admitted Giakoumakis. “I want to be fit and healthy all of the season next year so I can reach the numbers I am thinking about.
“But it’s not about a specific number. It’s about scoring in every single game.
“Of course, I will be better next season. Right now I feel I’ve maybe shown 70 per cent as I didn’t feel fully fit or healthy in the first six months.
“It will be totally different when I get a full pre-season. I hope next season is going to be amazing.
“Finishing top scorer is one of the targets I have. First of all it’s about winning titles with the team and then it’s being the top scorer in the league.
PARADISE…Giorgos Giakoumakis shares the joy with the Celtic support.
“I am confident about next season because of the players around me. You need the players around you to be the top goalscorer. Because someone has to give you it!
“I have a lot of confidence in my team-mates as you know you will have a lot of chances. It’s about making sure you are clinical.
“I managed to score two goals on the last day which made me the (joint) top scorer of the league and that is something that makes me even happier.
“Winning the title and being top scorer is a great feeling. It could have been better as I lost three months and a pre-season and this made me a little bit frustrated as I couldn’t be myself.
“I couldn’t feel my body being 100 per cent, so it was tough for the first six months.
CUP THAT CHEERS…Giorgos Giakoumakis holds aloft the newly-won Premiership silverware.
“But in the end, I’m the top scorer. Not with the amount of goals I wanted to score this season, but I cannot be hard on myself. I have to be happy.”
Giakoumakis and Kyogo rarely shared the same pitch with Ange Postecoglou preferring one central attacker with back-up on the flanks from Liel Abada, James Forrest, Daizen Maeda, Filipe Jota and Kyogo.
The Greek, who fired in 26 goals for his Dutch outfit who were relegated from the Eredivisie, reckons he could forge a double-act with the Japanese international.
Giakoumakis, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “We haven’t played a lot together this year for different reasons, but it would be really nice and it could work.
“We are so different in our styles of playing. He’s a little guy with great movement, doing a lot of running down the sides.
SEEING DOUBLE…Giorgos Giakoumakis and “robot” Daizen Maeda celebrate a goal.
“Perhaps we could have a good partnership. I think it works so well for the team because we are all so different.
“You look at Daizen. He’s a robot. He can run two 90 minutes in a row! His fitness is really good and it really helps us. You see him attacking and then he is back running helping the defence.
“It really suits our game and the way we play. He’s a big player for us. There are exciting times to come.”
Giakoumakis also praised the methods of boss Postecoglou and added: “It’s something really special for me. I’ve learned so many things from him and I’ve really improved since I came here.
“I can see the difference in my body and in my levels after just one season.
“Year after year, it can be even better. I’m really happy to work with him as he’s helped us a lot.”