In a first half where clear cut chances were few and far between, it was Rangers defensive mix up which allowed Jota to head home beyond Allan McGregor and give his side the lead at the break.
Amid the smoke of two pyrotechnic displays from either set of fans before kick off, there was a vital match to be played as Rangers looked to defend their Scottish Cup from the Ange Postecoglou juggernaut chasing a domestic treble.
Michael Beale was able to call upon defensive stalwart Connor Goldson who returned from injury along with Ryan Kent. For Celtic meanwhile they welcomed back Reo Hatate and Jota after recent lay offs.
It was frenetic start to proceedings, encapsulated by Nicolas Raskin’s strike just seconds into the match which whizzed passed Joe Hart’s post from outside the area.
Allan McGregor was forced into action just before the half hour mark, providing two astute saves from first Alistair Johnston and then Jota as clear cut chances remained at a premium.
Rangers were dealt a blow ten minutes before the half as Malik Tillman was forced off with injury, injuring what appeared to be his hamstring when he went to ground in a tackle with Greg Taylor.
Jota almost had a glorious opening at Rangers’ far post when Daizen Maeda picked the winger out with a driven cross, the Portuguese’ touch let him down however as the ball squirmed away from danger.
The Celtic front man was to get on the scoresheet before the half was out as he capitalised on a calamity of errors in the Rangers defence. First Nicolas Raskin and then Borna Barisic switched off allowing a dangerous ball across the area for Jota to head beyond the helpless McGregor.