After coming on in the final stages of Celtic’s 2-0 victory over Hibernian last weekend, Jota will no doubt be champing at the bit to make the starting line-up against Alloa Athletic on Saturday afternoon.
Ange Postecoglou’s side make the trip to the Recreation Park to face the team currently lying in eighth in Scottish League One, and safe passage from the fourth round of the Scottish Cup will be the absolute minimum expected.
One man who the Hoops boss will surely be considering bringing into the starting line-up is Jota, after seeing him come through unscathed for the final few minutes of that victory against Hibernian last time out.
The exciting forward has averaged an impressive Sofascore match rating of 7.31 this season in the Scottish Premiership, ranking him not only as the Hoops’ joint sixth-best performer in the current campaign, but also as the eighth-best player in the entire division.
Postecoglou has been previously quick to wax lyrical about the Portuguese starlet, insisting that while his natural talents have been impressive, it’s his defensive work ethic that has really caught the eye.
He said: “He was great, but I look at the other side of things well. The understanding that he needs to work hard defensively for us. We knew he was very talented and that’s why we brought him in. But I also knew the play our football would suit him provided he bought into the other stuff.”
With eight goals in 19 games across all competitions this season, as well as providing another six assists to boot too, it’s fair to say Jota has hit the ground running at Parkhead.
But after missing the last five games in the Scottish Premiership prior to the Hibs match on Monday, Jota will need to be given match-time to get his sharpness back, and a cup tie against a lower division side seems like the perfect opportunity for Ange to do so.
The 5 foot 9 star could be a real game-changer for the Hoops when they take on Alloa Athletic, and more importantly can be the beginning of his return to form at such a crucial stage of the season.
Celtic fans will no doubt be over the moon to see him finally start.