Celtic training images clear up Tomoki Iwata and Reo Hatate injury confusion

By John McGinley

March 31, 2023

It appears the player ‘touch and go’ to make Celtic’s first-team squad on Sunday against Ross County is Reo Hatate and not Tomoki Iwata.

There was a bit of confusion this afternoon with Postecoglou mentioning Iwata as a doubt for the weekend clash in his Sky Sports interview, alongside Aaron Mooy, before using Hatate’s name in his press conference alongside the Australian and not mentioning Iwata at all.

However, training images from Lennoxtown today suggest that Iwata is very much involved in the preparations for the trip to Dingwall. With no sign of Hatate or Mooy, we can surmise that this is indeed the duo that is least likely to make a visit to the Highlands.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The good news is that Postecoglou has suggested neither player will be out for long. That means they are in line to feature against Rangers in next weekend’s huge derby clash.

Iwata has made seven appearances for the Bhoys since arriving as a January transfer window signing but all of them have come from the bench – he’s yet to make a start. Now, that start could come this weekend.

With both Mooy and Hatate doubtful, a midfield trio of Iwata, Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley looks strongest. Young Ben Summers is also available as an option – again seen training with the squad today.

O’Riley has looked sharp in recent weeks, while McGregor was in imperious form for Scotland against Cyprus and Spain. It should be a midfield more than a match for County.

James McCarthy is also on the books and while he is also in training after recovering from a hamstring injury, it seems unlikely the manager will turn to the Irish international.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou responds to McPherson’s Celtic meltdown; Michael Beale avoids giving opinion.