Instant verdict on Reo Hatate after he destroys Celtic rivals in memorable Glasgow derby

By David Walton

February 2, 2022

Reo Hatate fully announced himself as a Celtic hero tonight as he marked his Parkhead territory by destroying Rangers.

The January signing from Kawasaki Frontale had been making an impression in recent games against Hearts and Dundee United respectively. However, in tonight’s 3-0 mauling of the Ibrox club, Hatate would prove to be the hero with a quite simply sublime brace.

He offered a lot more than just a clinical touch tonight. But you couldn’t ignore the quality of his goals. After just several minutes, he picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired a rifle of a shot into the far corner. It was a goal that immediately set the tone for the night, and Rangers never managed to recover

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

But his second? That was just different class. Collecting the ball around 25 yards out, the Japanese international curled a sumptuous effort in at the near post. He left Allan McGregor no chance on both occasions, and it’s far to say they absolutely broke Rangers. Not forgetting his superb cross for Liel Abada’s strike as he bagged an assist too.

However, as already mentioned, it wasn’t just his goal contributions tonight that left the Celtic support in total awe of the new man. It was the entire package in which he brought to the game. First and foremost being his composure and ability to adapt to the biggest domestic fixture on our calendar.

Many questions were asked as to whether Hatate could adapt to this fixture in particular. Yet he was consistently taking the ball in and asserting his own game to the occasion. He wasn’t interested in letting the fixture change his calm and technical-based approach.

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Reo Hatate rips into Rangers; wins the hearts of the Celtic support

Stat experts FotoMob ranked Hatate as Celtic’s best player on the night with an overall score of 9.2/10. In other words, an absolutely stunning rating. They also state that Hatate won 5 of his midfield duels on the night. Granted, you could be forgiven for feeling as though it was actually a lot more.

Hatate was supposedly playing in the number 10 role for Celtic tonight in place of Tom Rogic. But the truth is he was absolutely everywhere throughout his 70 minutes on the park. One moment he was in and around the penalty box striking killer blows. The next he was in our own penalty area marshalling the ball back to Joe Hart. Not to mention

Not to mention he was bossing things in the middle of the park all game. Particularly in the first 45 when he was the one consistently finding space in the engine room. Consistently blinding Scott Arfield and Glen Kamara.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

In the end, he got the standing ovation he deserved. Ange decided to bring him off for James McCarthy with around 20 minutes to go, and off went a new hero. A player who tonight more than earned his stripes as he did something no Celtic midfielder has been able to do since 2019 – boss our Glasgow rivals.

Hatate’s football intelligence has been shown ever since he made his debut in the 2-0 win over Hibernian earlier this month. But he’s now proven himself as the difference-maker against both Hearts and Rangers – 2 fixtures in which many expected Celtic to drop points in.

It’s yet another successful Ange signing, and one that’s finally broken our duck in the Glasgow derby.

In other news, Ange tactical instruction, new king of Glasgow: 3 things we learned as Celtic hammer rivals