FILIPE JOTA is ready to “go into battle” again when Hearts arrive at Parkhead on Saturday in the third last game of an extraordinary Premiership campaign.

After losing three of their opening six league games at Tynecastle, Ibrox and Livingston, Ange Postecoglou’s side can move nine points ahead with a win over Robbie Neilson’s visitors.

Nearest challengers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox club, don’t play their home league game against Dundee United until Sunday, but their manager has already expressed any hopes of a late surge may have gone following the 1-1 draw in the east end of Glasgow yesterday.

PARADISE…Filipe Jota displays his delight after opening the scoring in the derby at Parkhead.

His team will take on the Tannadice men in the knowledge the best they can achieve would be nine points from their remaining three outings which at least would put them equal with their Glasgow rivals on points – if, of course, the Hoops do not slip up against their Edinburgh visitors.

Even an odd-goal victory for Postecoglou’s outfit will propel them TWENTY strikes ahead in goal difference. In real terms, that is an extra point – unless Celtic undergo a form collapse of seismic proportions.

The lively Jota contributed his twelfth goal in all competitions when he diverted in Daizen Maeda’s left-wing cross in the derby deadlock.

The on-loan Benfica winger also forced in the killer second goal in the triumph over stubborn Ross County in Dingwall the previous weekend and he is determined to keep the sequence going against Hearts.

Jota, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “It’s always a tough game against Rangers, so we tried our best. We wanted to win, but, unfortunately, we didn’t.

“The job’s not done. We keep on going. We rest and then next week we go again.

NET PROFIT…Filipe Jota races away after scoring with Matt O’Riley about to add his congratulations.

“Our style of game always aims for goals and pressing, and keeping after them, but unfortunately we didn’t score again after the first goal. However, we kept on trying and then we conceded a goal.

“But the main thing to think about all of this is that we didn’t give up.

“It’s game after game. We know how important the next one is, so we keep on, we don’t give up, we get together the troops and we go into battle next week.”

After the visit of the Tynecastle outfit, the Hoops travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United in midweek and then bring down the curtain on a remarkable season when Motherwell provide the opposition in Paradise a week on Saturday for the grand finale.


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