FILIPE JOTA is aiming to achieve a personal treble at Ibrox this afternoon.
Celtic’s flamboyant Portuguese maverick has claimed the winners in the past two encounters with Michael Beale’s side.
Jota rolled in the points-clincher at Parkhead on April 8 as he latched onto a loose clearance from John Souttar, danced away from the alarmed Allan McGregor and nonchalantly rolled an angled effort into the inviting net.
MATCHWINNER…Filipe Jota strokes in the third and final goal in the 3-2 league win with keeper Allan McGregor helpless at Parkhead on April 8.
And, 22 days later, it was the man who cost £6.5million from Benfica in the summer who headed in the goal that sealed a Scottish Cup Final place against Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on Saturday June 3 when a coveted treble will be up for grabs.
Jota, with excellent timing and praiseworthy stealth, got in behind James Tavernier as Daizen Maeda swept over a superb right-wing cross. The fans’ favourite added the finishing touch from close range to ensure a grand finale to a campaign that has been enjoyable thus far.
The tricky touchline performer also took the spotlight in the derby in September when he applied a cheeky clip over Jon McLaughlin in the 4-0 romp that put down a marker early in the crusade.
The Hoops, of course, have won four and drawn one of the previous five occasions this term and pride – and not points – is at stake this time around.
MATCHWINNER…Filipe Jota heads in the Scottish Cup semi-final clincher at Hampden on April 30.
Jota is looking forward to the confrontation and said: “It’s the games we want to play in and it’s always an exciting game.
“We want to be a very good team on the pitch and keep on improving because every game is an opportunity to be better.
“We focus game after game and as long as we stick to our philosophy we will be closer to our objective.
“This will be no different and we just want to go onto the pitch and deliver the results.
“We only focus on ourselves, but, of course, we have the baseline for what the other team may do in the tactical aspects.
“In the game, anything can happen and you need to adapt to the circumstances and, hopefully, we can be a really good team on the pitch.”
MATCHWINNER…Filipe Jota celebrates his Hampden header in front of a mute Ibrox support.
After clinching their second successive title with a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend, it’s another away game for Ange Postecoglou’s men before the fans get the opportunity to celebrate the achievement against St Mirren in Paradise a week today.
There will be no Hoops fans in attendance in Govan for the 12.30pm kick-off, but Jota, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “We will play like there are Celtic supporters there.
“Unfortunately, it won’t be possible, but we will fight like they are on the pitch with us.
“Once you’re a football player you need to mute yourself from the world and focus on your task and be happy playing football.
“Every Celtic fan is as passionate as us and we all want to fight for the same reasons. I hope everyone keeps fighting by our side because they give us a lot of strength.”
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