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Celtic: Noel Whelan reacts to Jota update

Celtic: Noel Whelan reacts to Jota update -Celtic

BBC radio pundit Noel Whelan has been reacting to the news that Celtic will be without Jota for ‘a few weeks’.

The Lowdown: Jota’s form

The Portuguese maestro has been a regular under Ange Postecoglou after joining on loan on transfer deadline day over the summer, making 18 appearances in all competitions.

The 22-year-old has been involved in 14 goals and picked up the Premiership Player of the Month award for October.

Celtic want to exercise their £6.5m option-to-buy clause for the winger before the end of the season as a result of his impressive form, but Postecoglou will be without Jota over the coming weeks.

The Latest: Jota out; Whelan reacts

The Hoops manager confirmed over the weekend that the 22-year-old will be missing for ‘a few weeks’ with a hamstring issue. Should that indeed turn out to be a fortnight, he could well be missing for the League Cup final with Hibernian on December 19; and if it extends into the New Year, he might also miss the derby against Rangers on January 2.

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Whelan, who regularly contributes for BBC Radio, was talking to Football Insider about Jota’s injury. He labelled it as a ‘massive blow’ and described the attacker as ‘pivotal’ in recent months, saying:

“It’s a massive blow, he’s the one who is flying high at Celtic at the moment.

“He’s full of confidence, on loan and eager to make an impression – and the manager wants to keep him.

“Jota has been pivotal to their performances for the past couple of months – with goals, assists, creativity.

“To be missing him will be huge. Especially as you’re coming up to a big cup final. The tough fixtures over Christmas and the Old Firm game in January will also be in Postecoglou’s mind.

“You always want to have your best squad available for such massive games.”

The Verdict: Time for others to step up…

Jota has been a mainstay in the Celtic side due to his excellent displays, but his absence will now provide others with their chance to impress Postecoglou.

Mikey Johnston was handed a rare start against Dundee United in favour of Liel Abada, so you’d expect that the two youngsters could battle it out for a spot with Jota ruled out and James Forrest on the right.

Johnston and Abada may need to impress Postecoglou immediately if they want to feature more when Jota returns, though, and they could have up to four more games to do just that.

In other news: Sky Sports share more Celtic news with £20k-p/w colossus now ‘open’ to Parkhead exit

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Article title: Celtic: Noel Whelan reacts to Jota update

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