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Celtic: Postecoglou must turn to Jota against Real Madrid

Celtic’s final game of the Champions League group stages represents Ange Postecoglou’s toughest test as Hoops boss yet.

They travel to Madrid to face a side who have won the competition on 14 occasions. No pressure then, Bhoys.

It will be a wonderful occasion for the club and their supporters but unfortunately for the Glasgow side, there is nothing on the line. They are out of the competition and cannot qualify for the Europa League either.

When the draw was made, this was the clash every fan was looking forward to but perhaps a lack of pressure will actually play into their hands.

Sadly, Postecoglou’s men do go to the Spanish capital hamstrung by injury. Cameron Carter-Vickers has been ruled out of the clash and has stayed at home, earning a rest after playing on Livingston’s plastic pitch last weekend.

There is good news, however, with Carl Starfelt back in the squad and Jota now up to speed after his own problems with injury.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if both start at the Bernabeu, particularly the latter, who deserves to be inserted into the starting XI after his late strike at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The Portuguese sensation is a genuine world-class talent and is one of few players at Postecoglou’s disposal who could cause problems for Madrid’s elite defence.

He has scored six goals and registered five assists this term, with one of those strikes coming in Europe already when he found the net against RB Leipzig.

That said, there is a feeling that in this competition, the 23-year-old is yet to truly explode. An opportunity to play against European royalty, therefore, could spark the best from him if Celtic can see enough of the ball.

They will need to rely on pace on the counter and as a result, it wouldn’t be a surprise if James Forrest is given the night off. At the age of 31, he is no spring chicken anymore, with the energetic threat of Jota set to be more dangerous.

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First up in this Celtic transfer quiz, which club did Celtic sign Christopher Jullien from?

The wily £7.1k-per-week winger has been a revelation in the famous green and white hoops, with previous reviews demonstrating exactly why he could hurt Real.

Described as a “special” player by Kieran Devlin and a “big talent” by former Benfica B manager Helder Cristovao, it’s clear that his potential is immense.

Dubbed a “very different” player by his U19s coach Joao Tralhao, it’s what has set him apart from the rest of his teammates for a while. Celtic may have the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada in their ranks, but Jota is always the true threat, the one who opposition players fear the most.

For that reason, he must be unleashed in Spain this evening.

Article title: Celtic: Postecoglou must turn to Jota against Real Madrid

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