Celtic’s Jota in ‘unbelievable to be alive right now’ beam even as he issues ‘stay humble’ call after hammering of Rangers

Celtic winger Jota cut a man in love with life after his scintillating scoring display helped his team to a 4-0 thumping of Rangers in the season’s first league derby.

The Portuguese winger conjured up the pick of the strikes with a delightful touch and finish for the second in a three-goal first period that has Ange Postecglou’s men brimming with belief ahead of their hosting of Real Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League opener. The 23-year-old, meanwhile, appears simply to be brimming in glorying over the attacking intent of the team he joined for a £6m on a permanent basis from Benfica in the summer, following a stunning loan season.

“I’ve said this quite a few times, I’m so grateful to be in the team that plays this kind of football,” he said. “I’ve played like this all my youth and this is just the way I want to play football with these principles. Attacking football, high tempo, high pressing, one v ones, crossings, assists, goals. That’s what we aim for. It’s just an unbelievable time to be alive right now.”

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It is not a time Jota believes, though, for Celtic to feel too pleased with themselves, and not just because expressing such pride now could come adjacent to the real possibility of a fall against Madrid. “I must say something, people often think that confidence brings more confidence and more confidence. But these are the times you just have to remain humble. And stick to our principles. We know how hard it was to come to this place and play this kind of football. Now we just have to understand that our feet stay on the ground. We still have room to improve and we need to be better game after game.

Celtic’s Jota is a man high on life after his exquisite finish for his team's second in their 4-0 flogging of Rangers. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
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“We know these [derby] games are really special and we just came with the mentality of doing good, sticking to our principles and just delivering. And I think we did it. [The scoreline didn’t make it a big result]. It’s always a big result if it’s a win. If it was 1-0, it could still be a good result. It’s always dependent on the way we play and I think the way we played was very good. So we need to keep on.”

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