He’s been at Celtic for just over six years, made 253 appearances and scored 74 goals for the club. He’s also frustrated Celtic coaches and fans throughout that time, yes its Georgios Samaras.
It was long rumoured that the Greek international would leave the club at the end of the season. That was confirmed by his comments in the media that the club never offered him a deal.
In the statement he points the finger at Peter Lawwell, the fall guy for many of Celtic’s negative stories. He is also quoted as saying that he wanted to stay and that Neil Lennon was of the same opinion.
Whatever the truth of the situation, I don’t think its a bad thing that Sammy is going. He’s had highs and lows and Lennon got the best of him but its time to move on.
Personally, I think Samaras will do well wherever he ends up. Gordon Strachan brought him to Celtic on loan and performed fairly well scoring 6 times in 21 matches, but it wasn’t all plain sailing after that.
He began to wander around the park aimlessly. Good ball control, just no direction.
Meandering out wide when he was supposed to be playing up front, tested the patience of many a supporter. Confidence never seemed to be his ally either but he would still weigh in with goals, 17 in his first full season.
Was it enough though and would it get any better? Well, he went on to score 12 goals the following season and under short reign Tony Mowbray.
It was Neil Lennon who would see the ‘best’ of Samaras though. He kept faith in the big guy despite stating that he as the type of player who could get a manager the sack.
On a number of occasions Samaras was instrumental in Europe and had some moments against the clubs former rivals across the city. Ultimately, his on and off form coupled with limited use domestically was a sign of his limitations as a player.
He was not so effective this season in Europe, though neither were Celtic. It may have been borne out of the fact that he knew he was never going to get a new deal and lets be honest, Sammy is the kind of guy who looks like he needs to be loved.
In the six plus years at the club he’s partnered various players in attack, played wide on the left and even been the lone striker. He’s scored some important goals for the club and against some of the best teams in Europe.
It’ll be those goals that I’ll remember him for. He now has the World Cup to look forward to and with it and opportunity to sell himself to a good club.
In his final appearance for the club he netted a penalty and can leave with his head held high, even if it was a rather flat ending to his Celtic career. Still, I will look forward to watching him play for Greece next month.
Thanks for the memories Sammy.