Ange Postecoglou's exciting verdict on Reo Hatate's Celtic potential

By John McGinley

March 3, 2023

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reckons Reo Hatate will be ready to take his game to the next level in pre-season this summer, anticipating even more improvement over the coming months.

Hatate is an emerging superstar at the Bhoys and has shown excellent progress from his initial months in the Celtic team to now.

Today the Japanese midfielder won the Scottish Premiership player of the month award for February, prompting another bout of praise for his performances in recent weeks – and rightly so.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou praises Hatate’s desire to get better all the time

Postecoglou, of course, joined the chorus in his pre-match media conference, attended by 67 Hail Hail. When asked about Hatate’s potential for improvement, the Bhoys boss made it clear he’s only going to get better from this point onwards if the 25-year-old stays on the current path.

He said: “This year, after a good pre-season for him, he’s been really strong all year and he’s obviously found another level, I think since probably the World Cup break. My belief is that there are another couple of levels in him at least and knowing Reo his mindset is that he’ll definitely get there.

“I think he is constantly working on aspects of his game that he thinks he needs to. The feedback we give him, whatever that feedback is, then he’ll take that on board and go and work at it in training. I mean, there are no magic formulas here. It’s not about flicking a switch, it’s just hard work and he’s prepared to put that hard work in. And also understand and receive feedback in the right way.

“Sometimes with players, you give them the feedback and they don’t really address the areas they need to address because sometimes it’s easier to fall back on what you’re already good at. He’s constantly looking for gaps that there may be in his game, and then our role is to give him the right kind of feedback to go and work at it. He goes and works at it.

“He just works really hard at it and has a real focus on it. And that’s why I think whatever level he reaches by the end of this year, he’ll come back in pre-season next year looking to take his game to the next level and our role within that is to guide him in the right way.”

Given Hatate is now regularly cutting teams apart on a regular basis, it’s terrifying to think where he can take his game next. Postecoglou clearly thinks he’s coming to become an even more effective force for Celtic.

The aim will also be further transferring his game onto the European stage and truly making a name for himself on the continent. If he can do that consistently next season, his icon status with the support will only go through the roof.

In other news, Celtic ruined the honeymoon period across the city; can now hammer home advantage.