Celtic’s encounter on Thursday evening perfectly epitomised what the Hoops have become in the early stages of Ange Postecoglou’s reign at Parkhead.
The Australian’s philosophy of passing out from the back and pressing from the front is an eye-catching one, but until the defence clicks, the Bhoys will continue to suffer damaging defeats.
This was summed up during their 4-3 loss to Real Betis in the Europa League yesterday evening.
Celtic took a surprising 2-0 lead and looked phenomenal value for that scoreline. They played some swashbuckling attacking football before defensive mistakes once again let them down.
Anthony Ralston worked hard but was caught out for more than one goal while Ismaila Soro lacked discipline and was fortunate not to have been sent off in Seville.
However, if we are looking to pick out positives, the display of new signing Jota will no doubt have left the manager delighted.
This was just the winger’s second appearance since joining the club on loan on transfer deadline day and he showed signs of being a wonderful signing for Celtic.
The tricky winger was a regular outlet on the right-hand side and, on his way to providing a whopping five key passes, picked up an assist for the opening goal.
Jota beat his man with a few step-overs before delivering a tantalising cross that Albian Ajeti couldn’t miss. It was a strike which was initially ruled out for handball but VAR quickly showed that it had bounced off the centre-forward’s chest instead.
The dynamic 22-year-old attacker had the beating of Juan Miranda on a regular basis and completed two of five dribbles attempted.
The Portuguese provided his teammates with three accurate crosses and, on another day, he could have helped himself to a goal.
In the early exchanges, the ball was lofted over to him inside the penalty area but it just bounced away and into Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo’s grateful clutches.
However, he could have put the game beyond doubt. Jota found acres of space on the right before darting into the penalty area at 2-0, but Bravo raced out and managed to narrow the angle as one of Celtic’s best openings of the game went begging.
After this performance, the thought of the youngster lining up alongside the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada is a mouth-watering one.
Celtic have a very exciting talent on their hands here.