Greek giant Georgios Samaras has been a surprise revelation at Celtic since his move to the Scottish capital – a transfer that has created a healthy competitive fight for places amongst the strikers.
The £1.2 million capture from Manchester City appears to date as an early contender for the Scottish Premier League’s transfer of the summer. After switching life in the Dutch Eredivisie for potential stardom in the Premiership, Samaras never reached the heights that were anticipated of him and endured a struggle in North-West England – managing only 8 goals in 55 matches. Moving north of the border has, however, appeared to reignite his form and goal-scoring touch. Twelve goals in 23 appearances has seen him surpass the tally he reached at Man City, and thus Samaras will be hoping his rise to form will consequent in a kick-start to his international career with Greece. In spite of being a regular in his country’s squad, Samaras has failed to live up to the hype of being Greece’s new ‘pin-up’ and has rather stagnated since his debut two years ago, in which he scored the only goal of the match against Belarus.
Seven goals in as many games this season for his club have seen regulars Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Scott McDonald relegated to the bench. In a twist of events, both claimed their stakes for a position in the starting eleven against Villareal by scoring in the victory over Aberdeen - but Samaras is expected to be rewarded with a start in the decisive Champions League away tie.
The striker himself is pleased with the start he has made in Glasgow, telling the Evening Times “This is the best start I've had to a season in my career. I've been really pleased. My confidence is high and I feel that when you have a lot of belief in yourself, it shows when you go out on the pitch.” Assisting Celtic to their third successive progression to the Champions League knockout phase would declare Samaras’ revival on the European scene, especially if it came in the form of a winning goal against Manchester United.