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georgios delighted to be one of the bhoys

Paul Cuddihy
AN empty Celtic Park, buffeted by the winter rain, is a completely different proposition from a stadium filled with supporters ready to cheer on the team.

Yet the scale of the arena is something that is not lost of new signing, Georgios Samaras, who was happy to pose for photographs with the customary green and white scarf held aloft.

The 22-year-old striker has signed a loan deal with Celtic until the end of this season, with the club having the option of making the move a permanent one.

And in the process, the move has ensured Georgios Samaras becomes Celtic’s first ever Greek player.

Speaking exclusively to the Celtic website just after completing his move, the player explained the appeal of joining the Scottish Champions, not least the chance to help Gordon Strachan’s side make it three-in-a-row.

“I’m really delighted,” he said. “It’s the biggest club in Scotland and I’m looking forward to winning games and to win the title we have targeted.

“I’m here to help the team and to reach the targets you have. And, of course, a big team like Celtic wants to win everything and I’m here to do that – to win everything.”

Over and above the number one priority for the club – to retain the league title won the past two seasons – Samaras is also looking forward to playing his part in Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign, with a last 16 clash with Catalan giants Barcelona looming on the horizon.

The Greek internationalist is clearly looking forward to the prospect of facing up to some of Europe’s top players.

“It will be my debut because I’ve never played in the Champions League before,” he explained, “and I will do my best to get to the next round.

“It will be very difficult against Barcelona but in football you never know. I try to give 100 per cent in each game and, of course, to have the mentality to win every game.”

And while the challenges of club football are the most immediate ones he faces, the 22-year-old goalscorer is hoping that moving to a club of Celtic’s stature and reputation will also help his own prospects at international level.

Having already been capped 12 times for Greece, with three goals to his name, Samaras is aiming to win a place in the Greek national squad for Euro 2008.

Greece will be defending the trophy they won four years ago in Portugal and Celtic’s new Bhoy is hoping to play his part.

He said: “One of the reasons I signed here is because I will use the games to help Celtic, and, of course, for the chance to be in the squad for the national team of Greece for the summer.

"I’m here to help Celtic and for Celtic to help me.”

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