‘I can’t remember scoring a better goal’ - Jota hails opening day wonder strike but Celtic boss eyes improvement

The 23-year-old received a half-time rollicking from Ange Postecoglou but he responded in style.

Celtic star Jota admitted his stunning long-range strike against Aberdeen on the opening day of the 2022/23 Scottish Premiership season was the best goal of his career to date.

The winger netted an early goal of the season contender from 25-yards as he cut inside before unleashing an explosive effort high into the net as the Hoops launched their title defence with a 2-0 victory in front of a party atmosphere at Parkhead.

However, the £6.5million Portuguese summer signing failed to escape an infuriated Ange Postecoglou at the interval following a sloppy first-half showing.

Jota scored a brilliant goal to make it 2-0 Celtic. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

The Australian manager told the 23-year-old to sharpen up after the break and he delivered in style.

Jota said: “It was definitely a good moment for me and in my career. I was very happy that I scored.

“The most important thing was that we started on the right foot this season in the Scottish league. Now we have to keep working and be better in every game.

“I can’t remember scoring a better goal. This one was probably one of the best. I think it was everything, not just that moment.

“Just being part of this football club and the philosophy that now runs throughout the club, I’m just grateful for everything.

“It’s good to be back. It’s good to do the things I love the most, which is to play football.

“I think we started well, intense and pressin good. Then we had a sloppy moment, but we got back on it and I think this is the way football works.

“But we just have to keep our minds straight, have a nice mentality and get back on track. That’s what we aim for, and hopefully every game we’ll be better and better.”

Postecoglou revealed he had a lenghty discussion with Jota during the break but was pleased with the player’s reaction in the second half.

He added: “There’s no doubt the boy has talent and he is determined to be the best footballer he can be, but he was one of the main culprits in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

“He was wasteful with the ball and gave away posessinon when he didn’t have to. These are the kind of things we have to avoid.

“We have to keep these guys on track and not let them get away from the things we want them to do.

“The good thing is he addressed it at half-time and in the second half, not just the goal, but his general play was really good.

“He was dangerous, threatening and doing the team stuff as well. There are lessons in there for everyone.

“I didn’t shout or give him a going-over. At the same time you need to address the issue at hand. You can’t just dismiss the last 15 minutes of the first half.

“Other teams may punish you in that period. In the second half we addressed it and we finished the game strongly.”