FILIPE JOTA lamented the loss of Celtic talisman Kyogo Furuhashi after just two minutes in a 4-0 demolition derby win against Rangers at Parkhead yesterday.
The prolific Japanese hitman, who has already scored six goals including a hat-trick against Dundee United a week ago, was forced to withdraw following an awkward challenge from John Lundstram.
Kyogo now faces a race to be first in time for the glamorous Champions League opener against Real Madrid in east Glasgow on Tuesday night.
PAIN GAME… Kyogo Furuhashi holds his left shoulder before his quick exit from the 4-0 Celtic derby victory.
Centre-back Carl Starfelt, who suffered a knee injury in the 57th minute, is also doubtful for the match against Carlo Ancelotti’s Spanish All Stars.
Giorgos Giakoumakis easily grabbed the vacancy created by Kyogo’s withdrawal from the frontline while on-loan German defender Moritz Jenz impressively replaced the Sweden international.
The imposed changes didn’t even create a stutter in the Hoops’ progression as Liel Abada thumped in a double, Filipe Jota netted another spectacular effort with a jaw-dropping solo run and finish while David Turnbull grabbed a loose clearance from goaltender Jon McLaughlin to roll in the fourth with 12 minutes left.
Immediately after the match, Ange Postecoglou reacted to the setback of the double injury and said, “It was a shoulder injury for Kyogo and Carl had a knee problem.
“It’s a bit of a blow because Kyogo has been in brilliant form so far this season. We will assess them after that.
CHOOSE IT… Filipe Jota kicks the ball past helpless Rangers keeper Jon McLaughlin.
Portuguese ace Jota has praised Giakoumakis’ role in taking over from Kyogo against the Ibrox side.
He said: “It’s never good to lose a player like Kyogo. But as professionals we have to adapt and we always have a lot of quality on the bench.
“So the team stays the same. Giorgos is someone who delivers every time he comes through. He’s a big asset for Celtic.
“We are always ready. Everyone sticks to the same principles and the same philosophy that the coach wants us to play. It’s so good to have people come and keep the same quality.
Jota, who agreed a permanent £6.5million transfer from Benfica this summer, revealed he was delighted to be part of Postecoglou’s parade of performers and continued: “We know these games are really specials and we came with the mentality of doing well, sticking to our principles and just delivering.
“I think we did.
THREE CHEERS…Moritz Jenz and Giorgos Giakouamakis congratulate David Turnbull after the fourth goal.
“It’s always a big result because it’s a win. But if it was 1-0, it could still be a good result. It always depends on how we play and I think the way we played there was very good.
“So we have to continue now. I have said it several times. I’m so grateful to be in a team that plays this kind of football. I played like that all my youth and that’s how I want to play football, with these principles.
“Attacking football, high pace, high pressing, one-on-one, crosses, assists, goals. That’s what we’re aiming for.
“It’s just an amazing time to be alive right now. It depends on what people think is dream football. For some people the dream is to win, even if you play badly. But if you can playing well and winning matches is what we want.
HAIL, HAIL… Filipe Jota acknowledges the enthusiastic cheers of Celtic support after his mesmerizing goal.
“We are in a good moment right now. But there are plenty of tough games to come so you have to stay humble and work hard. That’s what we’ve been doing since last season and we want to keep improving.
Reflecting on his impudent goal against Gers, Jota, 23, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “When I got the ball I didn’t expect a chip. Football is like very short seconds – just decide on the moment.
“Once I saw the goalkeeper arrive, I knew I had to play.
“I think a tap-in is just as satisfying as other goals because it’s still a goal. As long as the ball goes into the net, I’m happy with that.