GIORGOS GIAKOUMAKIS delivered a heartfelt message to Filipe Jota as both players celebrated Celtic’s title triumph in the carnival atmosphere at Parkhead last weekend.
The Greek powerhouse had just claimed his 17th goal of an interrupted campaign that got off to a false start while the on-loan Benfica winger notched his 13th – and the Hoops’ fourth in the 6-0 win over Motherwell – as Ange Postecoglou’s side brought down the curtain on a spectacular season with a flamboyant flourish.
Giakoumakis, 27, who arrived in a £2.5million switch from Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo last August, took the opportunity during the revelries to make a plea to Jota.
DOUBLE-TAKE…Filipe Jota and Giorgos Giakoumakis enjoy Flag Day at Parkhead.
The international hitman admitted: “When we were out on the pitch celebrating I said: ‘I wish you to stay here because we really need you’.”
The proposed £6.5million purchase of Jota, of course, has yet to be confirmed although all indications in Portugal indicate the deal is just about over the line, as CQN reported yesterday.
Ange Postecoglou has already stated he would like to keep both the 23-year-old touchline flyer and central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers who had such an impressive season during his temporary move from Spurs.
The Greek-Australian has proved to possess a persuasive tongue in his transfer dealings with 17 recruits in both windows since his June arrival.
Giakoumakis, who scored 26 goals for his club as they were relegated from the Eredivisie, said: “When I was about to sign with Celtic I had offers, but I needed to think about everything.
ROARING SUCCESS…Giorgos Giakoumakis points the way ahead.
“You cannot deny this club, but you have to think about every part when making your choice.
“We had a chat and straight away he convinced me that I had to come here. “
The attack-leader, speaking to The Scotsman, added: “He was right – I did have to come here. When I was injured I was putting some pressure on myself because I had not yet proved myself here.
“He just said to me that I needed to stay calm, keep believing in myself and that whenever I came back I would be crucial for the team. In both those periods, he was crucial.”
Jota and Carter-Vickers are now in sharp focus for the Hoops boss as he prepares a squad capable of an assault at home AND abroad.