"I was expecting more of myself"; Reo Hatate gives remarkably honest new account of move to Celtic

By John McGinley

June 16, 2022

Celtic star Reo Hatate has written an article reflecting on his move from Japan to Glasgow and his initial few months at the Bhoys.

The midfielder joined at the start of January and hit the ground running in a Celtic shirt, scoring crucial early goals against Rangers and Hearts in massive games.

As time went on, his influence on the ball waned a little, although his work ethic and off-the-ball attitude never did. He’s now ready to show the best of himself in Scotland.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Writing for From The Athlete, Hatate said: “In terms of how I played, to be honest, I think I could have done a little better. At least I was expecting more of myself. That said, it was a very good season. It just ended in May, and I’m relieved that my body held up well, despite playing nonstop for a year and half, once I finished playing with Kawasaki Frontale.

“I played well in my first few games in January and February, as I was in a very good condition and the opponents weren’t familiar with how I played. After a while, playing started to become more physically demanding. Also, the opponents started to pay more attention to me and mark me more tightly. February and March were tough, as I had to play continuously, with no time to recover.

“The team was in second place when I joined, just a few points from the top. After we won an important game against the Rangers, we stayed on top of the standings for good. I think we excelled because everyone on the team worked hard. Personally, I felt I was able to get some momentum with two goals and one assist in that game against the Rangers. I gained new confidence, and I felt that I was finally able to contribute to the team’s victory when it really mattered. It’s great if my presence in the game contributes to the team, but I feel I’m contributing more when I’m doing everything I’m capable of, including scoring goals, assisting, and running for the team. There’s a lot more I can give to the team.”

The Celtic star goes on to talk more about his move, including the initial weeks of living in his interpreter’s house and the excitement of winning the league.

Hatate clearly has high standards and is his own biggest critic. But that kind of self-awareness and desire to keep pushing to new heights is what makes footballers reach the top.

Although he expresses disappointment with some aspects of his form, it’s also clear he has self-confidence and thinks he can achieve big things at the Bhoys.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Working under Ange Postecoglou and alongside vibrant teammates in a happy atmosphere at Lennoxtown, the smart money is on the Japanese international going from strength to strength here.

If he can really bring consistent goals and assists to his game, alongside the defensive efforts, we could be in for something special.

I can’t wait to see what he can achieve after the summer break.

In other news, Must-watch Celtic broadcasts set to air tonight.