Boss praises 'magnificent' Samaras but Georgios has more to give
Updated Friday, 6th November 2009
Celtic's European adventure may well be over following last night's Europa League Group C tie in the Nordbank Arena which finished in a 0-0 draw. The strikers failed to take their chances against Hamburg, a recurring theme for the front men, but boss Tony Mowbray insists that they will come good.
In other circumstances an away draw against one of the Bundesliga's top sides would be seen as a very respectable and acceptable result but unfortunately it probably won't be enough to keep Celtic in the competition. As things stand the Bhoys must win their next two matches against Hapoel Tel Aviv and Rapid Vienna whilst hoping Hamburg lose both of their remaining matches to the same opponents. Scott McDonald and Georgios Samaras both missed good chances last night but Tony Mowbray says that he still has has faith in his front men.
"If you keep giving them opportunities, the goals will come." he said. "I keep saying it, if we weren't creating chances I'd be worried. The strikers have to just keep getting in the right positions, keep going and keep believing that when the chances come they're going to score. We had the scenario last week where Samaras - who I thought was magnificent tonight - missed a header he'd hope to score against Hearts in the cup, then bulleted one home in the next game. That's how quickly it can turn round."
"I haven't studied the table." said Mowbray. "We're just taking each game as it comes in this competition and what will be will be. We need to try and win our last two games, but who knows if it will be enough. It was a frustrated dressing room again after this one. We definitely played well enough to have one or two goals in the first half. We could easily have been sitting here saying we won 1-0."
"We did go chasing the victory a bit later on, with two strikers." continued the manager. "Danny Fox pushed on and Niall McGinn came on to get the team up the pitch. We needed speed to get away from defensive areas, because we were playing against a good team who force you back."
Next up for Celtic is a trip to Falkirk on Sunday and Georgios Samaras has already turned his thoughts back to the SPL title race. "Those are the most difficult games." he said. "You play European games against a top team in the Bundesliga and then play against the bottom team in the SPL. So we must prepare our minds to be ready for that game because it will be not be easy. We had a good game against them in the Co-operative Insurance Cup when we won 4-0 but this will be totally different and, as I say, we must prepare ourselves mentally and physically because it will not be easy."
Samaras was happy to accept the manager's plaudits for his display against Hamburg but he insists that he's never totally satisfied with his own input. "I think I had a good game but I have more to give to my club, my team-mates and my manager as well." said the Greece international. "I am never happy with my performance. After every game, I go home and try to watch the game again, to see the good points and bad points and try to fix my mistakes. I just focus on my football and nothing else. When training or games are finished, I go home and I don't listen to anyone, just my girlfriend and team-mates, and I have always done that. I am really happy in Glasgow, really happy with the team and happy that I have signed for this club. This is my third season and I am really excited about that."