CELTIC manager Ange Postecoglou has backed Jota to shrug off his disappointment at missing vital Champions League matches for Celtic and get back to his best in the second half of the season.

The Portuguese winger marked his return from a five-game lay off – which included the defeat to RB Leipzig and the draw against Shakhtar Donetsk at Celtic Park – by climbing off the bench to hit Celtic’s third goal in a comfortable 3-0 win over Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

And Postecoglou believes that the hard work he has been putting in behind the scenes during his rehab will stand him in good stead to make a huge impact in the remainder of the campaign.

“It is easy to forget he had a great start to the season, he was incredible for us,” Postecoglou said.

"For him to miss the last period, along with Callum (McGregor), it is disappointing for him more than anything else because he wanted to make an impact at Champions League level. He scored against Leipzig, he was looking good and he has worked hard in rehab.

"We still have four games to go before the break and again in the second half of the year I am sure he will be back to his best and looking to improve because he is a young player as well."

Postecoglou was also pleased to see striker Kyogo hitting his ninth goal of the season in the win at Livingston, and his second in three matches after a barren run of one goal in eight games.

“I think we’ve been a little bit unfair on him,” he said. “As a striker, you love a run of games. 

“This time last year, he was scoring every week because I was playing him every week. Then he did his hamstring and he was out for two months. I wasn’t going to let that happen again this year. “Having him and Giako (Giorgos Giakoumakis) means that we can get goals out of both of them.

“In a normal season, you’d be saying one of them will probably have a bigger run at it like Kyogo did last year. But I I’m really mindful that we need to get the best out of both those guys for our team performance.

“Kyogo being in and out probably hasn’t helped him but he is a quality striker. I see him every day. “He was a threat last year and he will be a massive threat this year. He is improving all the time.”