ANGE POSTECOGLOU praised hat-trick hero Giorgos Giakoumakis after his display in the hard-fought 3-2 victory over Dundee at Parkhead yesterday.
And the Celtic manager insisted “there is more to come” from the 27-year-old forward who is now picking up momentum in the absence of Kyogo Furuhashi.
The Japanese frontman was on fire in the first half of the campaign with 16 goals – including a majestic double in the 2-1 Premier Sports League Cup Final triumph over Hibs in December – but the international attacker has not been seen since he limped off with a persistent hamstring problem in the 3-1 Premiership win over St Johnstone in Perth on Boxing Day.
Kyogo has missed the last 10 games while the manager has refused to put a time-scale on when the talismanic raider and midfielder David Turnbull will be able to return to first-team action.
MATCHWINNER…Kyogo Furuhashi displays his joy after scoring the winning goal in the Premier Sports League Cup Final triumph over Hibs on December 19.
Giakoumakis has rallied to the call and has claimed seven goals, including the points-clincher against Hearts at Tynecastle last month, to keep the side on the right track on the domestic front.
Postecoglou didn’t hesitate in bringing the Greek attack-leader to the club in a £2.5million switch after he had netted 26 goals for VV-Venlo who were eventually relegated from the Eredivisie, despite their player being top marksman.
The Hoops boss said: “if you play as a striker at this club, you’ve got to carry the burden of being goalscorer. It’s as simple as that. There is no shying away from it.
“Everyone we have had in that position this year has delivered goals and he does, as well. In games like this, when we are not going to find a lot of space, you need somebody with presence in the box to finish off our good deliveries. He missed a couple, but scored three good goals.
“There is more to come from all of them. I know people love having conclusions to things, but this team is newly built. All these guys are learning as we go along. Every experience is something unique for them.
HAPPY DAZE…Giorgos Giakoumakis races away after netting the second of his hat-trick against Dundee.
“For two or three of them, Thursday night was their first European game. They are going to be better players after that because we will keep exposing them.
“For Giorgos, in his pre-season he was injured most of the time. He has only really got going since the break. He is in the first couple of months of his Celtic career, so, of course, there is more to come from him.
“He was been going well for us, he hasn’t got the rewards of goals which he has been a bit unlucky.”
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “It is why I brought him to the club.
“The way a lot of opposition set up against us, a lot of bodies in the box, you need presence in there, it’s not as if we have a lot of space to run into.
“I know that’s where his strengths lie and it is just a matter of him gaining a little bit of confidence which he has, I think he has been really good for us the last few weeks.
MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS…Ange Postecoglou is not getting carried away with the domestic success of Celtic.
“For all strikers, goals are important and this game he was hugely important for us as I said with so many bodies in the box he was able to find the space to score the goals.
“I think most good strikers need a strong mentality.
“You know even the best strikers in the world are going to miss chances, how you respond to it is really important, he responded in a positive way.
“He didn’t have a great introduction to life here, he missed a penalty in the last minute (against Livingston).
“It would have been very easy for him to cower after that, but he has risen to the challenge and done a good job for us.”