‘Smart’ Jota the match-winner as Celtic beat Rangers to keep treble hopes alive

·2-min read
Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Celtic attacker Jota claims “smart” play led to his winning goal against Rangers which set up a Scottish Cup final meeting with Inverness.

There was little between the Old Firm rivals in a pulsating semi-final at Hampden Park until the Light Blues inexplicably switched off just before the break when referee Don Robertson took no action after Gers midfielder Nicolas Raskin challenged Matt O’Riley on the edge of the box.

Japan attacker Daizen Maeda took possession of the loose ball and swiftly crossed for Jota to bullet a header past Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor which was enough to send Ange Postecoglou’s side to the June 3 final at the national stadium.

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The Portuguese forward said: “We aim to be always good in every moment of the game and you need to be focused because there is always mistakes.

“Football is made of mistakes and you need to be able to understand when to take advantage of that and just be smart.

“Football is about that and when you have the opportunity, if you have the talent and if you are ruthless you get the opportunity to score and today was no different.

“Every game is different. As long as I can help the team achieve their goals, I will be happy, if I score or don’t score.

“To be in the right place at the right time inside the box is something we work a lot on and it is just a question of setting the moment. It felt like that could be a chance for me and I took it.”

The Viaplay Cup holders are one victory away from retaining the cinch Premiership title with Championship side Inverness standing in the way of domestic treble and Jota believes the clean sweep would be “amazing.”

He said: “If we keep on winning every game until the end then we are in a very good position of achieving amazing things and we aim for that.

“As a Celtic player in this group, we always aim for these trophies but in order to achieve that we have to work really hard from the start of the season.

“This one is no different. This is the final push and we have to go strong.”