By Ryan Fleming
In every sport there are players that seem to turn on the charm, or play to their ability whenever they feel like it. In Celtic’s 2-0 win over cross-town rival Rangers Sunday afternoon, Georgios Samaras proved once again that he continues to fall under that list.
Nothing frustrates supporters, managers and board members more than players like the lanky Greek international. When Samaras takes the field, no one knows what to expect. This offseason, Samaras played arguably better than any player to don the Hoops. Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his long-haired forward, giving him his utmost confidence in continuing his impressive run.
In typical fashion, the fun ended as quickly as it started. Samaras quickly morphed into his lethargic self, seldom making runs, making atrocious first touches and failing to find the back of the net so often it was as if opponent’s asked him to do so before the game.
It wasn’t till his outburst against Rangers in the most dire of the campaign’s games this season that Samaras reminded the world of what he is capable of. It was the outbreak people were looking for since Samaras arrived on loan from Manchester City during the January transfer window thanks to the likes of former Hoops manager Gordon Strachan. Since then the Greek has been flowered with compliments and words of encouragement – all meager attempts to motivate and get the best out of the player.
When the season started rumors flowed of the Greeks eminent departure. Lennon quickly swept them aside, again praising Samaras and telling all of his desire to keep the player who since arriving contained so much potential.
It will be seen shortly if Samaras’s double at an emotional day at Ibrox was just another glimpse at the players potential or if it was just another mirage into what he is ultimately capable of. His two goals last Sunday were his first two of the SPL season, and for Celtic they couldn’t have come at a better time. The Hoops are four points ahead of Rangers, who still have two games in hand.
Samaras provided some relief for Lennon as Gary Hooper remains injured and fellow forwards Anthony Stokes and Daryl Murphy have failed to impress the manager as of late. Lennon will undoubtedly ride Samaras for the next week due to his lack of options and the Greek’s form.
Like many times before, Samaras has impressed out of nowhere. In the first half of the Old Firm game he was nearly invisible, looking every part as mediocre, on the borderline of pathetic, that Celtic fans are use to seeing all too often. Samaras could do himself a favor and the club to which he owes a lot – staying with him through the uneasy times – in continuing to find the back of the net and backing up everything Strachan and Lennon have kindly said. He owes them at least that.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.