Celtic hero Jota schooled the media in September; now being proven spot-on

By David Walton

April 25, 2022

As Celtic close in on the title, you can’t help but look back and reflect on what was said at the start of the season.

Whilst you expect the likes of a Kris Boyd or Hugh Keevins to say something ridiculously controversial about Celtic, you should be able to expect a bit of level-headedness from others in the mainstream media.

But that wasn’t the case after 7 rounds of Premiership fixtures. Indeed, Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Parkhead had us 6 points behind Rangers and down in 6th place. The reaction was utterly embarrassing. And it hit peak heights when Jota was asked back then whether he was concerned about how the title race was shaping up.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 29: Jota of Celtic celebrates at the final whistle during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Dundee United at Celtic Park on January 29, 2022 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Speaking via Celtic TV, the Portuguese said: “That’s a non-question for us because we don’t think like that. We are still in September the last time I checked. There are no champions in September. So I think we just have to play game-by-game and develop each game, learn with the things we do wrong and be a better team.

“The championship will end in May I think and then we can speak about it. But for now, there’s plenty of the championship to play.”

There was far too much over-exaggeration being pushed at this stage in the season. Jota wasn’t the only one being consistently questioned about dropping the title to Rangers so early on. Ange Postecoglou also had a dig at the media at the time for how they were behaving [Clyde 1].

Celtic close in on stunning title win as the desperate excuses from across the city begin

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Celtic close in on stunning title win as the desperate excuses from across the city begin
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Jota’s September title message looks poetic now

That a 22-year-old Portuguese who hadn’t experienced Scottish football had to school our press on how league title races work says a lot about the quality of questions being asked these days.

Jota has now, after all, been proven spot on. Not just because Celtic are currently 6 points clear with 4 games to go. But because we had turned this title-race around by February. There were genuinely people wondering whether we were running out of time to get things right as far back as September.

Celtic have been in front of Rangers for the vast majority of the second half of the campaign. Even though we’ve gone on a monster run of only 6 points dropped since Jota made the above remarks, we still would’ve had plenty of time to catch Rangers even if we hadn’t managed it so early.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It shows just how premature the media were being at the start of the season. Not just the pundits too. That there was this idea of real concern when the manager was so early into his rebuild was always unfair. If we were still 6 or more points behind come March, then there would’ve been genuine worry over whether the title was heading.

Hopefully, this is a key lesson learned for next season. Obviously we would be hoping for a quicker start to the 2022/23 campaign than we had this year. But slow starts don’t exactly mean your title challenge is nearly over.

Celtic have proven just that in this campaign.

In other news, The SPFL rule change Ange has used to brilliant effect for Celtic in 2022