ANGE POSTECOGLOU was clearly frustrated at the lack of a killer touch in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Livingston at Parkhead in midweek.

The champions had TWENTY-THREE shots at goal with 10 on target against the West Lothian side who were under the cosh right from the kick-off.

It took 22 minutes for the Hoops to claim the breakthrough goal and that came from Livi defender Ayo Obileye when he inadvertently diverted in a sizzling low cross from Liel Abada on the right.

Kyogo Furuhashi doubled the advantage just before the interval before the visitors pulled one back with their very first shot at Joe Hart.

The hosts continued to dominate possession throughout the second-half, but failed to add to their scoreline – which was an obvious source of annoyance for their manager.

WATCHING BRIEF…Ange Postecoglou prowls the touchline as he scrutinises the play of the champions. 

Former Celtic goal hero Chris Sutton said: “Ange Postecoglou had a bit of a pop at his attackers for failing to get on the end of numerous crosses and balls across the face of goal and he was entitled to have a bit of a grumble.

“It’s surely a minor quibble given Celtic have been imperious on the home front.

“But if he feels there’s a spark needed up top, there does seem to be a fairly obvious way to mix things up in the next week to add more of a cutting edge.

“Giorgios Giakoumakis is the most natural penalty-box predator at the club. Perhaps it’s time to let him loose again. It’s a slightly strange situation with the striker. I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Giakoumakis.

“I wouldn’t be thinking about selling him while the league is there to be won.

“I’m not party to what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s not for me to suggest a falling-out or perhaps something going on in the background. There’s a lot of talk about contracts, the player being unhappy about game time and maybe wanting to leave.

“He came on in the final eight minutes the other night and there was a cryptic message of an egg-timer he posted on social media, which might not have been the smartest thing to do. But I can understand his frustration.

UPS…Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates one of his double in the 6-1 victory over Hibs at Parkhead in October.

DOWNS…Giorgos Giakumakis rues a miss agaist Shakhtar Donetsk in the 1-1 draw in Poland in September.

“Players want to play and he might be entitled to think he deserves more of a crack at it.

“But, at the same time, we don’t see the training every day. We don’t know if he’s doing enough to win over his manager. What we do know is Postecoglou has earned the trust of the supporters and everyone else.

“He’s barely put a foot wrong at the club and there’s no way he’s going to cut his nose off to spite his face. Postecoglou also has lots of options in the attacking areas. He’s got his main men like Jota and Liel Abada, but he’s also got Sead Haksabanovic, Daizen Maeda and James Forrest.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “They can all rotate and it doesn’t weaken the side in any way. The big debate is up front.

“I get why Kyogo is the go-to guy for Postecoglou. He’s got the pace and movement – and he also scored goals.

“The one the other night took him to 12 for the season, so he’s not exactly slacking. But Giakoumakis does bring something different. It’s a really interesting one for me.

“I’m not saying the Greek striker is the answer, but if Postecoglou is unhappy about the numbers in the box and attacking the ball in there, he looks like he could provide a straightforward solution.

“It’s a conundrum the manager is going to have to work out – and likewise there’s another puzzle to solve with Premiership defences.

“When the team with designs on finishing third in the league is parking the bus at home it tells you how rivals are viewing Celtic right now – with total fear.

MERCHANT OF MENACE…Kyogo Furuhashi puts the pressure on Kilmarnock keeper Sam Walker and defender Lewis Mayo during Celtic’s 5-0 win at Rugby Park in August.

“You look at the possession stats in the last couple of games, Celtic are up at near 80 percent against Aberdeen and Livingston. Teams are happy to let them have the ball, sit deep and try to hang tough as long as they can. That’s fair enough.

“We’ve seen Celtic dish out some pretty hefty beatings this season and teams are looking to avoid it.”

The one-time England international forward added: “It’s up to Postecoglou to figure it out. He got a bit frustrated the other night and maybe it was a bit of a kick up the backside for his side.

“But let’s be honest here. We are splitting hairs when it comes to being critical of this Celtic side.

“We’re looking at some of the negatives, which is a bit daft really when you consider the position they are in. They have won 16 out of 17 league games so far and lost just once going back to September last season.

“It’s been a remarkable run of form and pocketing 48 points by this stage of the season is only one point short of the record totals from our first season under Martin O’Neill and the Brendan Rodgers Invincible campaign. It’s not bad.

“Postecoglou sets the agenda and the standards are high. Players need to do the business when they come in – and that includes Giakoumakis if the chance comes.”

The ball is back at the feet of the Greek-Australian as he prepares for today’s visit of St Johnstone in the last piece of action at Parkhead for 2022.

Kyogo or Giakoumakis? Or both?

We’ll know Postecoglou’s answer soon enough!

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Johnstone this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.


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