Celtic striker Giorgios Giakoumakis backed to hit goals trail by former club VVV-Venlo’s Director of Football Stan Vlackx

The Greek frontman first caught Vlackx’s attention during a loan spell in Poland

Giorgos Giakoumakis has been backed by VVV-Venlo Director of Football Stan Vlackx to score 15 to 20 goals for Celtic this season once the striker adapts to life in Scotland.

The Greek frontman was said to be lacking match sharpness by Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou when he signed in the summer transfer window before picking up a niggly calf injury which further delayed his first appearance.

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He eventually made his long-awaited debut as a late substitute in the 4-0 Europa League thrashing against Bayer Leverkusen last month.

The 26-year-old has spent time over the international break regaining full fitness and the man who persuaded him to join Eredivisie side Venlo, from whom Celtic paid £2.5million, believes it won’t be long before supporters see the best of him.

Vlackx first became aware of Giakoumakis during his loan spell with Gornik Zabrze in Poland and was immediately impressed by the way he conducted himself.

Celtic took a gamble on the former AEK Athens man and they remain hopeful he will be able to fill the goal-scoring void left by Odsonne Edouard who departed Parkhead for English Premier League side Crystal Palace.

Speaking to The Herald, former Dutch international Vlackx admitted: “I don’t think it is unrealistic to say that between now and the end of the season he can score between 15 and 20 goals in Scotland. That should be realistic.

“Before I went to Poland to watch him in the flesh, I had seen a few of his games on Wyscout (a video analysis system) and what I saw is that he never gives up.

“He keeps running, he keeps fighting. He does very well in the box, he doesn’t need that many chances, but I didn’t see that immediately in the game in Poland.

“What was clear was his character. Just before half-time he got an elbow in his face and I saw the blood coming out of his head.

“I thought that there was no way he would be out for the second half, and now I wouldn’t be able to meet him the day after, because we had made an appointment the day after the game.

“I didn’t think he would show up, but he did. We hoped we would get what I had seen in that game, but nobody at all expected the volume of goals he scored.

“He didn’t have a very good track record in Greece, but he was still very young.

Georgios Giakoumakis. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“At a small club like Venlo in the Eredivisie, a striker needs to defend maybe even more than he attacks, so that he scored that number of goals is really an unbelievable story.

“He made headlines all over the world.”

His sensational return of 26 goals from 30 appearances in Holland’s top-flight saw Giakoumakis crowned the Eredivisie top goal scorer last season, the highest number scored by any player since Marco Van Basten in 1985.

Valckx was particularly impressed with the variety of goals he scored and reckons the physical nature of the Scottish Premiership and Celtic’s style of play will suit the 6ft1” striker.

He added: “Celtic is a big club of course in an interesting league.

“It’s a physical league, but normally I would expect him to be in the box more than he was with Venlo. We’re a small club and we have to defend more.

“He scored from all sorts of angles, with his left foot, right foot, bicycle kicks, quite a lot of headers. He had a real diversity in the way he was able to finish. In the box, he is very good, very effective.

“In Holland, the central defenders are not that big or tall normally, but I know that in the Scottish league almost every club has two tall, strong central defenders.

“That will be a different challenge for him, but I think he has developed as a player and will be able to deal with that.

“The way Celtic play with wingers is also how we played, so he needs those wide players to deliver crosses so that he can score goals. The style of play should fit him really well.

“He is stable in his head. He knows what he wants and he knows how to achieve it. It sometimes takes some time to strike up an understanding between players, but he adapted to the style of football here really quickly.

“He may need a bit of time to adapt, but I have no doubt he will get there.”