Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hopes Jota’s late Pittodrie winner will prove to be a major moment in his rebuild after his team proved they can win ugly.
The Portuguese winger’s 84th-minute goal earned Celtic a 2-1 win over Aberdeen and their first victory on the road in Scotland since Valentine’s Day.
Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi headed an early opener but the Dons fought back strongly after the interval and looked the more threatening side after Lewis Ferguson’s headed equaliser in the 56th minute.
Former Hoops pair Scott Brown and Jonny Hayes forced saves from Joe Hart and Celtic looked short of inspiration going forward until substitute Tom Rogic’s reverse pass allowed Adam Montgomery to square for Jota.
Postecoglou said: “Everyone is well aware of our struggles away from home going back to last year.
“I think the manner in which we did it showed tremendous character to get ourselves back in front after they equalised.
“The players were searching for the winner, they weren’t going to settle for a point.
“If there is one thing about us this year, we have definitely shown that when we play well we can definitely take it to teams.
“There have been games when we have scored a lot of goals and played really well but the one thing we haven’t shown yet is that ability to find a way to win a game when we need it.
“It’s not just the victory, it’s the manner in which we went about it.
“It was a tough second half. They are desperate for a result as well, particularly here with the crowd behind them. It wasn’t easy for our players to respond to that but the fact we did respond to it, and the manner in which we did, that should give the players plenty of confidence.
“I have no doubt there is great character in this team. We’re a new team. If you look at the players who are playing at the moment, very few of them have actually had meaningful Celtic careers so far.
“It’s just that understanding of what the expectations are at this football club week in, week out.
“I have felt it’s in the team but we’ve just not been able to get over that hump. Hopefully this gives them the confidence that they can.”
Aberdeen have now gone nine games without victory and manager Stephen Glass admits they need to sharpen up at the back.
“We are obviously disappointed at losing the late winner,” Glass said. “Especially when the response in the second half was as good as it was.
“In the first half we weren’t great without really getting the pressure right. We maybe weren’t brave enough on the ball and out of possession as well.
“The response makes it difficult to feel we should have come out without a point.”
Glass added: “I think you can see a group of players that believe in what they are doing. A group of players that are not a million miles away from where they need to be, if they can negate the issues defensively as individuals.”
The first goal particularly frustrated Glass. Furuhashi headed home unmarked after David Turnbull had got the ball back from a quick throw and crossed.
“There is a quick restart that we banged on about all week as Celtic want to get the ball back in,” Glass said. “Then defending crosses needs to be better as well.
“It has become a bit of a theme and it needs to be better quick.”