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Celtic striker Jota plays down their slow start to the Premiership season

Celtic v Dundee United – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Celtic striker Jota played down the Hoops’ early-season wobble in the cinch Premiership as he stressed the title race has still a long way to go.

Ange Postecoglou’s side sit sixth in the table after seven matches and fell six points behind leaders Rangers at the weekend after being held to a 1-1 draw by Dundee United at Parkhead.

Ahead of Celtic’s Europa League clash with Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday, the 22-year-old Portuguese winger, who signed on loan from Benfica at the end of the transfer window, was asked if there was any concern about points dropped.

He said: “It is a non-question for us because we don’t think like that, we are still in September last time I checked.

“There are no champions in September.

“We just have to play game by game and develop each game and learn from the things we do wrong and be a better team.

“The championship will end in May and then we can speak about that but for now there is plenty of the championship to play.

“As professional players and with the experience we have had in the last few years, we learn with every situation.

“The solution is always to look forward, look to errors we made in previous matches and just keep on fighting.

“Of course there are some results that didn’t go quite well but we know the quality is there, the ideas are there and in other games we did very well so we have to recover physically and mentally, and be ready for the next game.”

Jota, certainly, will not be weighed down by any expectations at Celtic.

He said: “I have come from a club in Portugal where it is the same thing.

“At Benfica we had to win every single game, just like Celtic, so I am used to that kind of pressure with the fans and everyone.

“We know it is an obligation to win every game and that we fight for the club and that is what we are trying to do.”

Jota is looking forward to experiencing his first home game in Europe with Celtic as Postecoglou’s men try to get back on track after losing 4-3 away to Real Betis in their first group game.

He said: “A few people have already told me, ‘Jota, believe me, there is a different feeling in the European games so just be ready for that, you will feel a lot of different things.’

“I want to experience that and look forward to enjoying it as much as possible.

“Hopefully we can get the win for us and our fans.

“It is a big game, Leverkusen are a great team who have done a lot of good things in the past and we are looking forward to a great game. We can’t wait.”