Celtic's Jota reality

By John McGinley

March 5, 2022

When it comes to a player like Jota, Celtic supporters are going to have to take the rough with the smooth.

In recent matches, there have been a few moments frustrating for supporters in the stands and those watching on from home.

Backheels, flicks, skied long-range shots and attempted rabonas. Sometimes you just want him to keep it simple and make a more productive decision in the final third.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The reality is though, this is his game. Obviously, we should always try to coach him to make the best decision possible, but he relies on the unexpected to make an impact.

He’s not necessarily showing off. He’s actually trying things he thinks can be effective in the moment to catch opposition defences off guard. It’s part of what has made him such a thrilling watch this season.

Former Celtic striker Scott McDonald summed it up well on our 67 Hail Hail YouTube channel earlier this week, stating: “There’ll be times you will absolutely love him and think what a player and other times you won’t because he’s that type of player. He likes to express himself.

“At times when it comes off it’s a wonderful thing and there are times you think can you keep it simple for us? It’s about getting that balance right.

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“That’s the difference between this and the next level. If he goes to another level – picking those moments, when to do it, not always doing it – then all of a sudden you’ve got a £20m+ player. It’s just maturing over time.

“I know that he’s going to give us flashes of brilliance and cut open teams – sometimes you’ve just got to take the good with the bad and keep improving him. And Ange will be doing that, we know that. He’s very hands-on.”

I wouldn’t go so far to say Jota is an enigma – because he does have what it takes to produce consistently for us. With 10 goals and 8 assists this season it’d be inaccurate to say he isn’t contributing.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

This is a big couple of months for him though. If he can reach a peak again and become one of our best players in the title run-in, there will be no question marks surrounding him. There’ll be a clamouring for Celtic to sign him permanently and rightly so.

For me, he’s in good hands under Ange Postecoglou and this is the right place for him to make progression long-term. Now it’s just about making slight refinements so there’s far more celebration than crowd grumbling.

In other news, Celtic supporters in stitches as Aberdeen lot upstage expensive rivals display with Charles Green reminder.