FILIPE JOTA has lost his race to be fit in time for the Premiership meeting with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s visitors at Parkhead on January 2.

The on-loan Benfica winger has missed the past five games after hobbling off with a hamstring pull in the 1-0 win over Hearts at the start of the month.

Ange Postecoglou had hoped the flying flanker, who had been on fire until the clash against the Tynecastle outfit, would have recovered for the second Glasgow derby of the campaign, but the Celtic boss has now written off the chances of an appearance of the exciting 22-year-old raider before the winter break.

FLYING HIGH…Filipe Jota celebrates one of his double in the 4-2 win over Dundee at Dens Park last month before injury struck.

Jota will now be sidelined for tonight’s match against St Mirren in Paisley, the trip to Perth to face St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Boxing Day and the visit of Hibs to the east end of Glasgow a week tonight.

A disappointed Postecoglou conceded: “Jota’s injury was quite significant, so we don’t think we will see him back out there before the break.”

And boss Ange Postecoglou has revealed he also has to be cautious with strike hero Kyogo Furuhashi as he plans for Wednesday’s clash with St Mirren.

The Greek-Australian gaffer has already ruled out midfielder David Turnbull, a hat-trick star when the teams last met on August 21, for this evening’s clash with Jim Goodwin’s Covid-ravaged Saints.

HAMPDEN HAMSTRING HORROR…David Turnbull pulls up after only 27 minutes.

The Scotland international lasted only 27 minutes during the 2-1 Premier Sports League Cup Final win over the Easter Road club on Sunday and, like Jota, will be sidelined with a hamstring problem.

Kyogo Furuhashi was the two-goal hero of the silverware success at the national stadium, but the pacy Japanese striker was not operating at full strength and the Hoops manager will be cautious with the demands on the 16-goal top scorer in the run-in to the break.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “David was the major one coming out of the Final. We have had the scan, but we haven’t had the results yet.

“He will definitely be out for St Mirren, but I’m not sure how long he will miss.

“Everyone else got through the game okay, but there are one or two minor niggles.

“We will also have to particularly manage Kyogo during this period as he is not 100 per cent. I just need to see how he came through the game and look at St Mirren.

“I am not expecting anyone else to miss out and I also don’t expect anyone who was missing to return.”

SILVER SMILES…Ange Postecoglou beams brightly as he gets his hands on the League Cup.

The Paisley outfit have been decimated by a Covid outbreak among the squad with boss Goodwin forced to play youngsters against the Hoops and Posetcoglou added: “It’s tough for Jim and St Mirren and that’s the challenge we are all facing.

“You are tested on a daily basis now and part of the daily schedule is to hold your breath until results come in.

“This could affect any one of us and you saw Dundee United were fairly affected on the weekend.

“This football club had a history with it last year. So, I don’t know how much sympathy means and whether there was a lot of sympathy for Celtic last year.

“It’s just the way of the world right now, but I do feel for St Mirren and Jim. It’s a tough one and as managers we have to deal with these things, whether it’s Covid or injuries.

“He will put his team out and make it difficult for us. It will be a tough game.”

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from St Mirren v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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