On an evening when Giorgos Giakoumakis was lost to a possible long-term calf injury in the warm-up, the Celtic manager admitted he was forced to keep Jota on the pitch despite the wide man hobbling towards the end.
‘I think Jota’s OK," said Postecoglou of the player whose ankle was strapped up post-match as he lamented that "there is something looming over me at the minute, to challenge me every day" in seeing players go down like flies with Callum McGregor, Kyogo Furuhashi, James Forrest and Greg Taylor sidelined in recent weeks.
"I would love to take him off but, with four full-backs and three centre-halves on there, putting on another centre half would have gone against every ethos of attacking football I hold dear … I told him just to stand up there and do the best he could."
Posteocoglou was content with his team doing the job they needed to do "without being brilliant", and he believes that they will come through this testing period of squad depletion stronger.
"Look, it has been challenging. But there is resilience in the group," he said. "We went through the first part of the season really short at the back. But I think we had four full-backs and three centre-backs out there at the end.
“Now we’re hampered in the front half and in midfield. Even though we’ve got some great players in those areas, we just can’t get them on the field. It’s what we’re going through, the challenges that are put before us. f we can get through this period and still be OK, it means we’ve got some promising things ahead of us.
"You benefit from it only if you approach it in the right manner. It’s not an excuse. There are valid reasons why we’re a little bit inconsistent in the way we’re playing. We’ve lost our captain, we’ve lost our top goal scorer – and the other guys who can play in those front areas haven’t been available. So those kind of things you can use as reasons for not progressing. But we’re not doing that. If we don’t perform, we take it on the chin, as we did on Sunday [with the loss at Livingston]. Then we come back here tonight and get the job done. If we get through this period, it just means we’ll be a stronger unit."
Postecoglou will hope to have his main players back for the semi-final against cup double-winning Perth opponents in six weeks' time. ‘It’s going to be a tough game. You won’t get an easy one in the last four of a cup, they’ve done really well in the cups last year," he said. "We’re in there with an opportunity now and a semi-final at Hampden will be a special occasion. I’m looking forward to it."