IT was a goal fit to grace any game, and one that ultimately saw Jota win the PFA Scotland Goal of the Season Award. The Celtic winger is also sure it would have been one that even his mentor, the flamboyant Benfica legend Fernando Chalana, would have been proud of.

Jota’s delicate chip over goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin in Celtic’s 4-0 win over Rangers back in September was honoured this week as the best Premiership strike of the season, a small piece of individual recognition for his contribution to another hugely successful collective campaign for Ange Postecoglou’s champions.

The impudence and confidence it takes to try such a finish at such a crucial juncture of such a critical game stems from the belief that Chalana had in Jota as a young prospect, and the confidence his advice has imbued in him to this day.

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The 24-year-old unveiled a tribute on his wrist to the late Chalana after scoring against Kilmarnock last August, and he hopes that he can play a small part in carrying on his legacy by continuing to stick to his ideals on the pitch, and by continuing to do him proud.

“He was definitely someone who believed in me,” Jota said. “Even when I didn’t believe in myself.

“That says a lot of such a quality player because he saw something [in me] and I just stick with his ideas.

“Like, he said to me, ‘son, just be different from everyone else because football is becoming something really not interesting, and the ones who are going to thrive and to be better are the ones who do different stuff and can solve problems when no-one can solve them’.

“So, I just stick with those ideas. Inside the philosophy of the game, of course. And I try to express myself in the best way possible.

“There are always periods during the season that you need to find this creativity and he was someone that shone every time he went on to the pitch doing whatever he was doing because he was just a special player.

“When they showed me his videos, I saw for each time he was already doing some incredible stuff that no-one else was doing. 

“This says a lot about what he was as a football player and, on my side, I just try to do my thing and I just want to express myself in the best way possible.

“That’s what I try to do, and I think he will always be proud of that. That is the first point.

“After that, like with the trophies and the success, of course he’s definitely proud and, yeah, I just want to keep on doing my people, my family, my friends proud and these people that have inspired me all over the years.”

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Of course, Jota’s current manager must take some of the credit too, with Postecoglou fostering an environment where his creative players can flourish within a framework on the pitch.

“That is something that was clear since day one,” Jota said.

“You need to stick with the structure of the team, but then you will have the creativity to do your own stuff and to be able to express yourself on the pitch.

“It is no different for any player. We all go [out] there and know exactly what we have to do, but then it is all about finding the right passes and the right places to deliver results.

“I’m really happy to win [the award] and I should give some credit to Matt O’Riley because if it was not for his amazing pass, I wouldn’t be able to be in that part of the pitch to score.

“And for all of the effort of the team to be able to put me into these positions, so I am grateful to everyone and happy.”