Ange Postecoglou has confirmed Celtic will be without star performer Felipe Jota for the Premier Sports Cup final against Hibernian next weekend.
The Portuguese winger, who is on loan from Benfica, was one of three Hoops players forced off injured during last Thursday’s narrow 1-0 victory over Hearts at Parkhead.
The 22-year-old sustained a hamstring problem and faced a race against time to be passed fit for the Hampden showpiece but Parkhead boss Postecoglou has admitted he will play no part in the game.
He stated: “Jota won’t be right for the Cup final. A few weeks means a few weeks. How long that stretches out for, we’ll wait and see.
“We’re waiting for the final diagnosis but when it came in it was going to be 3-4 weeks recovery depending on how he’s going.
“It only happened a week ago so if you look at timelines, it gets pretty tight between now and the break.
“We’ll just have to see how he recovers.”
It is a huge blow to Celtic who have a mammoth run of eight games still to play before the winter break, starting with tomorrow night’s final Europa League group stage showdown against Real Betis.
Jota has developed into a key member of Postecoglou’s squad and it is clear to see the esteem in which the Parkhead faithful hold their wing wizard, with supporters expressing their disappointment at the news on the club’s fan forum pages:
Reiver82: “Really disappointing news. Feel very sorry for a player who was ‘on song’. It’s also a major blow for the team.”
GetFunky: “He deserved the chance at a trophy. That’s a real shame. Bad time to lose him.”
Brigadesdg: “Kyogo (Furuhashi) and (Callum) McGregor came back before expected with their injuries. We might get by without him in the final but we absolutely need him for the derby game.”
Joe Tarro: “Really hope we let the injury heal fully and aren’t tempted to rush things for the Rangers game. It would be really nice to have him back ASAP but it’s more important that we have consistency and don’t do further damage and have him miss any more games than he should.”
DB Cooper: “Just hope he is a quick healer and is back ASAP.”
Antoninho: “If he’s out for a length of time then we’re in trouble. We were just getting by with him. Overall squad depth is an utter shambles.”