Yet, the striker doesn’t reserve his blunt pronouncements for expressing confidence in his scoring ability, as he does regularly. Or, indeed, unabashedly putting it out there in the midst of a tight title race that Ange Postecoglou’s men would go on to finish top through being better in every department than defending champions Rangers. A call he got correct.
The Greek forward doesn’t spare his team-mates when it comes to laying it on the line. He spent much of the time taking the adulation of the support at the conclusion of last Saturday’s trophy presentation day – which followed the 27-year-old netting a double in a 6-0 final day battering of Motherwell – in the company of team-mate Jota.
And Giakoumakis didn’t just spend his laps of the stadium with the on-loan Benfica winger indulging in chit-chat or back-slapping over the successes the pair have been integral in delivering since their Celtic arrivals last summer. Instead, the frontman addressed head-on the burning issue as to whether Jota will commit to a £6.5m permanent deal with the Scottish champions, discussions over which have been going on for months. Players often tip-toe round the career decisions facing those they are in a dressing room, or on a pitch with. Not Giakoumakis. “I have told him,” said the £2.5m signing from Dutch club VVV-Venlo last August..”When we were out on the pitch celebrating I said: ‘I wish you to stay here because we really need you’.”
Giakoumakis will ultimately hope that his manager can prove as adept at coaxing Jota to tie himself to Celtic as he did in enticing the predator to the club last summer. Before Postecoglou proved equally astute in ensuring he was given the right direction to turn a frustrating first half of the season, when he was beset by injury and form issues, into a lethal last five months that allowed him to rack up a 17-goal haul at a rate of a strike every 85 minutes.
“When I was about to sign with Celtic I had offers but I needed to think about everything,” the Greek international said. “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. 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.”