Celtic were left to reflect on what might have been on Wednesday evening, as the Parkhead outfit were held to a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in what was a lively Champions League group stage encounter.
Although Ange Postecoglou’s side were finally able to get a point on the board after having slipped to a 3-0 defeat at home to 14-time champions Real Madrid last week, the overriding feeling will have been one of frustration, with the Hoops once again coming up short in front of goal.
As was the case against Los Blancos, last night’s clash in Warsaw saw the Old Firm side spurn a number of clearcut chances to surge ahead, after the explosive Mykhaylo Mudryk had cancelled out an early own goal from Artem Bondarenko.
Both Daizen Maeda and Giorgos Giakoumakis inexplicably fired wide late on with the Glasgow side having firmly taken control of proceedings, as the ‘visitors’ were ultimately forced to settle for a point against the Ukrainian outfit.
The aftermath of that stalemate has seen skipper Callum McGregor criticised for his “terrible decision” to chase the ball in the build-up to Shakhtar’s equaliser – in the words of Chris Sutton – although one man who also somewhat underwhelmed was usual talisman, Jota.
While the Portuguese magician did offer a typically devastating threat off the flanks, the 23-year-old was arguably far more wasteful in possession than usual, notably squandering possession on 20 occasions in his 90-minute outing – the most of any player on the night.
Arguably the most “infuriating” element of his performance, however – according to journalist Sam Tabuteau – was the former Benfica man’s failure to “pull the trigger” despite having a clear sight on goal, having twice fashioned a brilliant opening for himself.
In two almost identical scenarios, the fleet-footed gem had majestically weaved his way into the opposition box, only to then belatedly decide to shoot after seemingly doing too much to try and deceive the opposition.
While it may be somewhat harsh to criticise a player who has sparkled for the Hoops to date – with 35 goal contributions in just 48 games thus far – the £6.75m-rated man appears to still have a way to go to truly become the finished article.