Celtic star makes up numbers for kickabout and “couple of pints” during holiday

It’s always frustrating when you fancy a game of footy and can’t get the numbers.

Newcastle fan Matty O’Neill and his mates had that exact problem on Sunday… but fortunately there was a Scottish Premiership winner on hand to help. Former Celtic winger Jota joined in to give the group of fans a game they’ll remember for a long time.

The remarkable tale happened while O’Neill and his mates were on holiday. They needed some extra players for their game and unwittingly asked Jota and a “pro playing in Cyprus” if they’d like to join in. They said yes and even agreed to stay for a pint afterwards.

“Had a game yest [sic],” tweeted O’Neill. “Needed players so asked couple lads that were there to play… it was Jota from Celtic and some pro playing in Cyprus.

“We played then kicked around for 2 hours after and then had a couple of pints with the lads talking pure football. Top guys.”

Jota, 23, has just completed a season-long loan spell at Parkhead. He joined Celtic on loan from Benfica last July, helping them win the Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup this season. He scored 13 goals and provided 14 assists during his stint in Glasgow.

The Portuguese ace was named in the PFA Scotland’s Team of the Year for his efforts and won three Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) Player of the Month awards during his time at Celtic – a remarkable achievement at any level of football.

Jota wore a Celtic shirt during the kickaround

Jota wore a Celtic shirt during the kickaround

Will Jota re-join Celtic this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Jota hasn’t played for Benfica for two years – spending the 2020-21 campaign on loan at Spanish outfit Real Valladolid – and there is speculation he could return to Parkhead. According to The National, Celtic have agreed a permanent deal with Benfica.

Personal terms are believed to be an issue, yet Celtic fans will be feeling more confident after seeing the pics of Jota playing football with O’Neill and his mates. The winger was wearing a Celtic shirt during the game, proving his love for the Scottish champions.

“We are in discussions with them obviously and, as I have said all along, with these kind of things it’s never a simple process,” said Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou when asked if the club will sign Jota or fellow loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers permanently.

“But both had unbelievable years for us and been outstanding contributors and both are really happy here. Our intent is to try and keep them at our football club, but these things need a point where all parties agree. I am hopeful we will get to that point, but at this point we are not quite there yet.”

When asked if he’d considered his future in April, Jota told reporters: “No, not a chance. I think I’m just enjoying day-by-day. It’s been a terrific season for me so I’m just enjoying getting to know the people around. Be a better person and better football player.

“I’m learning every day with really quality people so that’s what I am doing. I don’t talk about that [future]. I just want to enjoy it and give everything for this shirt. Let me just play football and enjoy it.”

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