It’s a funny thing, perception. On the one hand, Celtic have a forward line capable of striking fear into the heart of defences up and down the land.
Giorgos Giakoumakis outscored Donyell Malen, Dusan Tadic and co despite suffering relegation from the Eredivisie last season while, with two goals in Saturday’s 3-0 thumping of Ross County, Albian Ajeti appears to have recaptured some of the form that saw him net 21 times for Basel in 2018/19.
Then again, Giakoumakis never looked like becoming a regular goalscorer until an unexpected purple patch at VVV-Venlo. Is he anything more than a one-season wonder?
Ajeti, meanwhile, has just eight goals in 36 games for Celtic and anyone who believes he’s capable of replicating Odsonne Edouard’s influence needs the prescription changing on their rose-tinted spectacles.
As we said, perception is a funny thing.
Will Celtic regret selling Odsonne Edouard to Crystal Palace?
To be honest, it will take some time before we can ascertain the health of Celtic’s front line. Can Giakoumakis and Ajeti score consistently, like they did in Holland and Switzerland respectively?
Or toil, like they did at AEK Athens and West Ham?
Either way, the ongoing availability of M’Baye Niang should give Ante Postecoglou, in the words of one esteemed philosopher, a lot of things to ponder.
The absence of star man Kyogo Furuhashi for four to six weeks means Celtic suddenly appear to be lacking depth in the final third. And that could become a real problem, particularly with tough outings against Real Betis, Bayer Leverkusen and Hibernian on the horizon.
In July, FootMercato reported Celtic had shown interest in Niang, the much-travelled Senegal international formerly of Watford and AC Milan.
Despite scoring 14 goals in 2018/19 – and 15 in 2019/20 – Niang is out of favour at Rennes and, had Celtic made an offer the Ligue 1 side found acceptable, they wouldn’t have stood in his way if the striker had asked to swap Brittany for Britain.
Unfortunately for Postecoglou, January is four months away.
And with L’Equipe reporting Bordeaux could make use of a handy Ligue 1 rule to snap up Niang outside the transfer window, it seems unlikely he’ll still be available when the window reopens.
Lets hope Furuhashi returns, Ajeti stays fit and Giakoumakis adapts. Otherwise, it will be hard to make a case for a Celtic side post-Edouard challenging for honours this season.