Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou addresses Reo Hatate concerns

By John McGinley

April 23, 2022

Reo Hatate’s comments in Japanese media this week drew empathy from the Celtic support but also a bit of concern.

The midfielder spoke about the physical and mental toll that his move to Scotland has taken on him over the last few months.

He made the switch from winning a J-League title to immediately entering another intense title race with little room for error and massive expectation of hitting the ground running form wise.

For the most part, he’s managed to do that. Scoring big goals against Rangers and Hearts early on helped ingratiate himself to Celtic supporters.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, there’s a perception from some that he might not be providing the levels of consistency needed. Is it time for a rest?

Postecoglou was asked about Hatate’s comments in his print press briefing yesterday and the Celtic manager isn’t worried. In fact he’s pleased with the player’s progress.

The Celtic boss told The Herald: “He is fine. With him, Daizen (Maeda), Gucci (Yosuke Ideguchi) and Matty (O’Riley), they’ve only come in the last three four months.

“Whenever you come into a new environment it, it is always challenging, particularly when you’re coming to a new country, but he’s fine. He’s training well. He’s all good.

“You are kind of guided by them, how they are playing and how they are training. I haven’t felt the need to sort of rein back any of them.

“From when they’ve come in in January they’ve been outstanding. You will find it hard to find anywhere else where three players have come in and made an instant impact in their team. Usually January is a tricky one to bed guys in and make an immediate impact, but they have done really well for us.”

67 Hail Hail chats to Ange Postecoglou & Greg Taylor | Ross County vs Celtic Preview

67 Hail Hail chats to Ange Postecoglou & Greg Taylor | Ross County vs Celtic Preview
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

It will be interesting to see what the manager’s midfield will be not only tomorrow but next week against Rangers. That was a problem area of the pitch at Hampden.

We know Postecoglou will never been one to abandon his principles or outlook in a match, but a change of personnel might be on the cards, especially with so much competition.

David Turnbull is back on the scene with Matt O’Riley also available. An experienced player like Nir Bitton could also be called upon if the manager is keen to push Callum McGregor further forward.

Regardless, I don’t think anyone needs to panic about Hatate specifically. It could well be we see the best of him once he’s had a full pre-season and summer to work with the manager. Hasty judgements are wide of the mark.

In other news, Malky Mackay attempts to pile pressure on Celtic ahead of Ross County trip; could backfire