A POWDERPUFF penalty-kick from Giorgos Giakoumakis blew Celtic’s chance to go to the top of the Premiership.

The Greek striker capped an unconvincing performance with a tame effort in stoppage-time which was easily saved by Livingston keeper Max Stryjek in the frustrating scoreless stalemate at a stunned Parkhead yesterday.

Ange Postecoglou has now seen his team fail to score a goal against the West Lothian club in THREE hours of football following the 1-0 flop on their dreaded plastic pitch last month.

But the Hoops boss BACKED the misfiring frontman, a £2.5million summer arrival from Dutch side VVV-Venlo, to fight back and show his worth after his awful attempt from 12 yards cost the team two points.

SPOT OF BOTHER…Giorgos Giakoumakis sees his feeble penalty-kick saved by Livi keeper Max Stryjek.

Giakoumakis had the glorious opportunity to claim the matchwinner when referee Bobby Madden was left with no option but to award the penalty after Aye Obileye hit Kyogo Furuhashi on the head in a moment of off-the-ball madness.

The rugged Livi defender immediately saw red as the Hoops fans waited for Josip Juranovic, with two successful conversions against Real Betis and St Johnstone this season, to take the kick.

However, up stepped Giakoumakis to make a complete mess of the effort as he transformed a penalty-kick into a passback.

But Postecoglou refused to blame the blundering Bhoy and said: “Giorgos will be disappointed, but that’s the role of a striker.

“They get the limelight when they score goals and when they don’t, they have to dust themselves off and go again.

“I’m sure he’ll do that and he understands it. He’ll be fine.

“He was always taking the penalty. It was my decision, he was the designated penalty-taker.

“He wasn’t on the pitch last week when Josip Juranovic took it and it was my call on this occasion.”

TEARS AND CHEERS…a disconsolate Giorgos Giakoumakis reflects as Max Stryjek is congratulated for his spot-kick save.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Sunday Mail, continued: “I don’t think it will knock Giorgos. He understands the role of the striker.

“He’s had this feeling before. The good strikers dust themselves off knowing that when the next chance comes they’ll put it away.

“I’m sure that’s what he’ll do. That’s what I’ll be telling him to do.

“It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself. That’s his role in the team, he’s got to be there and take opportunities when they come.

“He didn’t today, but if he gets himself in the right areas on Thursday, I’m sure he’ll take them then.”

The Greek-Australian gaffer added: “It was a frustrating afternoon for us. We knew the challenge was going to be finding a way through Livingston.

“We knew getting a goal would make a big difference and we got our chances, but, unfortunately, couldn’t take them. We had good opportunities to win the game.

END GAME…Ange Postecoglou and fall guy Giorgos Giakoumakis.

“But the boys were excellent for the most part. At home, you want to pick up maximum points and put in good performances.

“That’s two games now, this one and Dundee United here, where we didn’t take our chances. The fans will be frustrated like we are, but that’s part of the challenge moving forward. We can’t dwell on it.

“People will look at the end result and say we didn’t do enough. But we’d be talking about a different game if we’d taken the chances we had.

“You won’t get a better chance to win a game than we got today. It’s a penalty then a chance from six yards. I’m not sure what more we can do.”

All eyes are on Hungary now as Celtic continue their Europa League Group G adventure against Ferencvaros on Thursday night.

If they are to get anything from this encounter, the firing squad will have to work on their finishing skills.


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