Jota replacement key for European progression

One of the first memories I have of Jota in a hoops shirt was his performance in Celtic’s home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen on matchday two of the UEFA Europa League two seasons ago.
Although Celtic would lose the game 4-0, Jota shined throughout the 90 minutes and gave former Celt Jeremie Frimpong a torrid time.

Celtic v Aberdeen – Tomoki Iwata and Jota celebrate after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday May 27, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

From watching just over an hour and a half of Jota elegantly dribbling up and down the left-hand side of Parkhead, it was clear to me that he was a UEFA Champions League level player.

13 goals, 14 assists and a league and cup double in his debut season in Glasgow later and Jota would get his opportunity to prove his quality at the highest level, as Celtic automatically qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in six years.

A tale of promising periods in games, missed opportunities and a lack of cutting edge followed Ange’s Celtic as they finished fourth in their UEFA Champions League group.

Jota of Celtic celebrates after scoring only goal of the game during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 30, 2023  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, someone who did not lack cutting edge throughout the campaign was Jota, scoring two goals including an incredible free kick at the Santiago Bernabéu as the 24-year-old proved he could do it at the very highest level.

The former Portuguese u21 international is arguably the most talented player to play at Paradise since Moussa Dembele and will prove to be extremely difficult to replace.

Celtics options on the left wing are relatively underwhelming after the departure of Jota, Sead Hakšabanović is a talented player without doubt but lacks the consistency to replicate Jotas influence and Daizen Maeda will have to prove his technical ability is competent enough to play in a Brendan Rodgers team.

Celtic v Hibernian – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic s Jota arrives at Celtic Park before the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday March 18, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

The arrival of Marco Thilio will add further depth and quality to our wide options, but he mainly operates from the right.

Celtic must replace Jota with a quality replacement, whether that means spending upwards of 10 million pounds so be it, without doing so Celtic risk heading into the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage as toothless as last season.

James French

Click on the image above to shop


The Celtic Star’s Summer Promotion has been so successful, with hundreds of books at great prices being posted to Celtic fans all over the world, that we’ve decided to continue with the sale until the end of July. We’ve reduced all six books currently available from their usual retail price of £20 and prices are as low as £6 (see below).

All books are high quality hardback, with some signed by the author. And it’s also worth noting that you only pay postage on one book, so it’s free for the second, third and so on. ORDER HERE or click on The Celtic Star image above…this is how it feels to be Celtic!

About Author

Comments are closed.