GREEK hitman Giorgos Giakoumakis is aiming for a first against Bodo/Glimt in tonight’s Europa Conference League confrontation at Parkhead this evening – his breakthrough goal at this level.
The powerful striker has netted four strikes for the Hoops since his £2.5million arrival from Dutch minnows VVV-Venlo in August.
Giakoumakis claimed his first counter in the 2-0 Premiership win over St Johnstone in October and has added others against Alloa and Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup and Hearts in the league.
Now he has his sights set on Europe and the 27-year-old foreward said: “It’s a big game for us and it’s these European games that every player loves to play.
“I think we’ll have a full stadium with us. We’re looking forward to this game and I think we’re going to enjoy it.
“The only thing missing from me in the last few games was a goal and that was something I really wanted and I hope that much more will follow.”
CAPITAL PERFORMANCE…Giorgos Giakoumakis scores against Hearts at Tynecastle.
Giakoumakis has made 16 appearances since his switch from the Nertherlands where he was the Eredivisie’s top scorer last season with 26 goals.
He has now fully recovered from a niggling knee problem and, speaking to the club TV, added: “I didn’t choose Celtic only because of the European games – I chose Celtic because it’s Celtic.
“It’s an amazing club with big targets every year, but, of course, the European games are something really special for the players and it’s something that played its part.
“The Europa Conference League is one of our targets. It’s something really important. Of course, it’s a new competition, but it’s a European game, so it’s the same for us – it’s a big night for us and for the fans and we will try to make them happy.
“We want to go as deep as possible in this competition and I don’t see why we cannot dream big – this squad is made to dream big.”
Giakoumakis has stepped up since the turn of the year with the team’s top scorer, Kyogo Furuhashi on 16 goals, ruled out with a troublesome hamstring injury.
Albian Ajeti is also on the sidelines and hasn’t been seen since he limped off with a leg strain in the 3-2 Europa League victory over Real Betis on December 9.
The Greek frontman has become pivotal in Ange Postecoglou’s first-team plans and it will be a straight choice between him and Japanese new Bhoy Daizen Maeda, who has claimed three strikes since his Hogmanay arrival, for the first leg encounter against the Norwegians.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Bodo/Glimt this evening – only in your champion CQN.