Jota uses Celtic first as another sign of ‘how good our group is’.

By their own high standards, it wasn’t a vintage show by Ange Postecoglou’s designated champions, but they’re so far ahead these days that it doesn’t always have to be. A hotly contested penalty from Jota got them on their way before Bernabei stepped forward to find the top corner in stoppage time.

The Argentine stepped in to replace the injured Greg Taylor and ensured the loss of a key player was minimally felt. Neither Reo Hatate nor Aaron Mooy were present at Dingwall, but ultimately it didn’t matter given how many options Postecoglou has amassed with some stellar recruits.

Jota was pleased to see Bernabei hit the bull’s eye and believes this is a sign that there really isn’t a weakened Celtic team at the moment.

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“It was his first?” The winger smiled. “Alexandro is a very nice guy. He just came from a completely different background. Football in Argentina is completely different than football here. I think he deserves his first goal in a long time. Yes, I was so happy for him.

“It shows how good our group of players is and how ready they are to deliver our performances. We always train very hard at Lennoxtown and whenever there’s an opportunity we’re ready for it. That’s why if there’s a sub or whatever, they always deliver. They also have good numbers. As long as the level stays the same over 90 minutes, I think we will do very well.”

CONTINUE READING: Celtic manager gives Greg Taylor injury update ahead of Rangers game

It’s the players who continue to deliver on the pitch week in and week out, but Jota was keen to stress that their amazing consistency – it’s now 28 wins from 29 Premier League games – is a concerted effort by everyone involved in the first-team setup .

“It’s our love of football and the way the structure is,” he said. “All employees have created a very good base and basis for us to feel at home. They understood from day one that there is a system and a formation here.

“They are very good at that. We want you to do this. It gives us the freedom to play our kind of game within the tactics, rules and formations. Then it’s up to us in the dressing room to make everyone feel welcome. We know that we get closer to our goals when everyone is happy and performs well.”

In Mooy’s absence, Jota took the penalty that left Ross County manager Malky Mackay deeply dismayed and Alex Iacovitti was penalized for handball in the box after a VAR intervention. The Portuguese gratefully took the chance, who was a picture of calm from 12 meters.

He drilled the ball down the middle with supreme confidence to set the stage for another vital three points that could bring him back to Glasgow’s days at the Benfica academy as a source of confidence.

“Yeah, it’s instinct, it’s the emotion of the moment,” he said. “I’m just glad the ball went in.

“I’m just trying to be in the zone. I try to breathe as much as possible, to be in my surroundings, to be in my space. As soon as I have to go and deliver it’s like focus, go do your job and that’s it. It’s a moment of mindfulness.”

“When I was young at Benfica, I took penalties before. Everyone just does what makes them feel most comfortable. I’m just grateful to the staff for giving me this chance to take the penalty.

“Aaron Mooy also took very good penalties. I think everyone will just be ready for the moment. In the end it was good that I was able to help the team and that we delivered the result.”

CONTINUE READING: Ross County 0 Celtic 2 – Immediate response to the burning issues

Celtic now face a derby meeting with Rangers on Saturday that could bring them a step closer to the second straight title that has felt inevitable for some time. What is most impressive about their relentless march to the finish line is the complete lack of complacency, or even the slightest hint, of slacking off with such an overwhelming nine-point lead over their city rivals. Should they extend that lead to 12 this weekend, it would be pretty safe to re-tape those green and white ribbons to the trophy.

“We’ve had our goals and our goals since the start of the season and we know it’s not going to happen in one day. You have to build a good foundation and we’ve been doing that since the start of the season.

“Now we know we are reaching the end of the run. So it’s time to focus. But I think sometimes people think too much about the end of the season. We do this from the beginning. This is the key for our team. There isn’t a moment when we go down or start thinking about other things that are irrelevant. Yes, we just keep doing our thing.” Jota uses Celtic first as another sign of ‘how good our group is’.

Russell Falcon

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