FILIPE JOTA is OUT of the Premiers Sports League Cup Final against Hibs at Hampden a week on Sunday.

And Celtic’s on-loan Benfica winger may have kicked his last ball this year after pulling up with a hamstring injury in the 1-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead on Thursday night.

Jota went into the confrontation against the Tynecastle outfit on a high after scoring five goals in as many games, but he was forced to miss the 3-0 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday and Ange Postecoglou confirmed today that the Portuguese ace will be sidelined sidelined for several weeks.

SITTING IT OUT…Filipe Jota faces a spell on the sidelines.

The £6.5million-rated fans’ favourite will be in the stand when the Hoops take on Real Betis in their final Europa League Group G encounter in the east end of Glasgow tomorrow night.

As well as the silverware showpiece at the national stadium, Jota will miss the visit of Motherwell on Sunday and will remain a major doubt for the Premiership matches against Ross County in Dingwall a week tonight, St Mirren in Paisley on December 22, St Johnstone in Perth on Boxing Day and Hibs in Glasgow three days later.

That could mean Jota making his comeback against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox visitors on Sunday January 2.

Postecoglou said: “He won’t be right for the Cup Final. It’s going to be three-four weeks recovery depending how he goes, so if you look at timelines it gets pretty tight for between now and the break.”

PENSIVE…Ange Postecoglou ponders over a question at the media interview.

The Greek-Australian gaffer has been linked with a return to Japan to raid the J-League for talented trio Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi following the success of 14-goal Kyogo Furuhashi, the £4.6million summer arrival from Vissel Kobe.

Postecoglou would not confirm names, but said things are progressing well for next month’s transfer window which will open on January 1 and close at the end of the month.

He said: “We are working hard on it, there are always things that you need to sort of overcome on a daily basis, particularly with the way the world is at the moment in terms of how we have discussions and how we follow up on things.

“I am still really happy with the way things are tracking and I still expect us to be well organised and have the people we want in place hopefully early in the transfer window.

“There is nothing that has happened that has made me think that maybe we are not on schedule.”

BEST FOOT FORWARD…Mikey Johnston is poised for more game time as he comes back to match fitness.

Looking at the Euro meeting with Manuel Pelligrini’s La Liga side that beat Barcelona 1-0 at the Nou Camp at the weekend, the Hoops chief, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “It makes sense for us to give some people a bit of a rest and also give some others some game time because we are definitely going to need them.

“We saw that at the weekend, we had guys like Greg Taylor come back into the team, Mikey Johnson and it is really important that whenever we need to make changes that somehow we give players some game time and tomorrow night is a great opportunity to do that.

Defender Stephen Welsh, who also limped off against Hearts last week, returns to the squad for the game against the Spaniards.

James Forrest, taken off at half-time at Tannadice, and Anthony Ralston, crocked last week, will not be risked.


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