The Reo Hatate hype is building at Celtic after another classy pre-season showing

By John McGinley

July 20, 2022

The performance of Reo Hatate is one of the main talking points coming out Celtic’s 2-2 draw away to Legia tonight, as hype builds around what he can achieve in the new season.

Hatate was only on the pitch for 45 minutes in Warsaw, but that was enough to see he is looking very sharp ahead of competitive action, in line with his previous pre-season showings this summer.

In fact, he ran the show before the interval, not only playing a role in both of our goals but also generally dictating play and moving Celtic through the attacking gears.

Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

His goal was a beauty. He latched on to a lovely Callum McGregor chipped pass to volley past Artur Boruc and put the Bhoys ahead.

Then, receiving a nice Stephen Welsh forward ball into his feet, Hatate turned slid a lovely through pass into the box for Daizen Maeda to rattle home. The easier option came on his left via James Forrest but Hatate took the riskier and ultimately more satisfying route to goal.

Hatate had a blistering start to life at Celtic earlier this year, scoring big goals against Hearts and Rangers. However, towards the end of the season, his attacking play dropped off a little.

Now, heading into the new campaign, the signs suggest he’ll be again looking to have a big influence on proceedings in the final third.

The Japanese international is well rested after being excused from duty with his country in June, and all indications are he will be in the starting midfield three when Aberdeen come calling a week on Sunday.

As with other pre-season matches this summer, Celtic’s performance notably and naturally dipped when many substitutions were made. But we can look to that opening half and be buoyed that things are moving in the right direction, with Hatate at the heart of it all.

In other news, Video: SPFL dig up class Aaron Mooy goal vs rivals after Celtic signing.