FLAMBOYANT Filipe Jota struck with a superb header to give Celtic a 1-0 Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over their Ibrox foes at Hampden on April 30 2023.

The goal won the Hoops a place in the showpiece encounter against Inverness Caley ThistleĀ in June.

The title was already within the grasp of Ange Postecoglou’s men with just one win required in their remaining five league games to make certain.

It was Portuguese maverick Jota who was the difference between the two sides at the national stadium with a wonderful piece of quick thinking as the interval neared.

HEADMASTER…Filipe Jota nods in the only goal of the semi-final with Allan McGregor stranded and Ben Davies looking on helplessly.

TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY…Filipe Jota races away as the Ibrox opponents look on in dismay.

SMILE, PLEASE…Filipe Jota celebrates his matchwinner, but a section of fans don’t share his joy.

The Ibrox team put in an almighty effort as you would anticipate when you consider their entire season centred on this encounter.

They had already lost three out of their four derby confrontations – including a 2-1 loss in the league Cup Final in February – and they were desperate not to succumb on this occasion.

However, once again, the Parkhead men proved conclusively who are masters of domestic football.

As anticipated, the first-half kicked off with a frenzy with both sets of players going at it with a verve and gusto.

Alistair Johnston hit the Hoops’ first shot on target in the 27th minute after a swift exchange with Jota. The Canadian right-back walloped in a right-foot drive which was pushed away by Allan McGregor.

MY BALL…Callum McGregor and Malik Tillman tussle in midfield.

Celtic struck the fatal blow in the 42nd minute after the Ibrox defence fell asleep and paid a heavy penalty.

Matt O’Riley moved onto a Callum McGregor short free-kick and got bowled over by Nico Raskin. There was a moment of hesitation with players possibly believing the ref would award a free-kick.

Daizen Maeda, smartly, played to the whistle, seized onto the loose ball, spun to his right and whipped over a marvellous hanging cross.

Jota raced in as James Tavernier was taken unawares and the Portuguese ace buried a close-range header beyond the exposed McGregor.

The Hoops fans just about raised the roof at the stadium in celebration.

On the hour mark, Joe Hart had his first save of the proceedings when he dived full-length to his right to push a flashing drive from Scott Arfield round the post.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR CELTIC…Ange Postecoglou is all smiles at the final whistle.

After the usual huffing and puffing right up to the last shrill from referee Don Robertson’s whistle, the Jota goal was enough to separate the teams.

Celtic sealed the title a week later following a 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle with Kyogo Furuhashi and Oh Hyeon-gyu on target.

On June 3, strikes from Kyogo, Liel Abada and Jota gave them a 3-1 victory over Billy Dodds’ Highlanders to win the club’s 41st Scottish Cup.

The victory also made history with Celtic the first club to lift eight domestic trebles.

Happy days!

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