Over the top coverage of Reo Hatate's Celtic Tannadice challenge cranks up further

By David Walton

March 17, 2022

3 days on and there still appears to be an absolutely desperate clamour for unfair retrospective action on Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate.

Hatate was at the centre of controversy on Monday night in our 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Dundee United. The Japanese international was booked for a late challenge on United’s Kieran Freeman. Since then, the coverage has been incessant.

First we had the United manager Tam Courts hint at retrospective action [Daily Record]. Not to mention the list of pundits who have all been weighing in and pushing the narrative that he was fortunate to stay on the pitch [Daily Record].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Now, we’ve had 2 former referees inexplicably come out and label his challenge both “nasty” and, ridiculously, “calculated” as they also called for retrospective action. Steve Conroy and Des Roache are the latest to get their digs in on the Get Involved Referee Podcast. It’s worth noting that the Record and the Sun have both done articles on it too as the coverage continues to be widened.

Conroy said: “I think it was nasty. I think his studs were definitely showing and I think that was quite calculated considering the distance he had to cover.”

Roache was next up with: “It should have been a red card. I know a lot of people are saying it wasn’t a lunge but for me Hatate was running at speed and the ball had ricocheted away. Having gone to ground he had the time to divert away from the tackle but for me he chose to continue with the tackle.

Starfelt makes a mockery of the media’s narrative as the supercomputer forecasts glory for Celtic

Starfelt makes a mockery of the media’s narrative as the supercomputer forecasts glory for Celtic
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“So he’s gone with a straight leg, he’s come from a distance and his studs were slightly showing and the other player has not had the opportunity to get out of the road. So he has not thought about the safety of an opponent.”

People now seeing what they want to see over Reo Hatate incident

It’s hugely unfair to call this particular moment “calculated”. That suggests Hatate had a pre-determined mindset to go and hurt Freeman. That’s extremely evident from the challenge alone that it wasn’t the case.

Hatate goes to win the ball very clearly. As soon as he realises that it isn’t there to be won anymore, you can ever so slightly see him try to move the angle of his foot. If he had intent to hurt Freeman, why on earth would he have bothered?

Also, it would be interesting to hear the reasons for Hatate wanting to go in and hurt the United man. We were 1-0 up at the time and comfortable. The pair hardly have previous together and they hadn’t come into conflict all match. Why on earth would Hatate suddenly think to put the game at risk?

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

What we’re seeing here is a player who showed a bit of fight and determination to win the ball back being absolutely vilified for it. He was late. That was it. The studs were showing, but he tries to pull out and that has to be taken into consideration.

But on a wider scale, where is all this coverage and calls for bans when it’s on a Celtic player? Nobody even wants to talk about the penalty we should’ve gotten at Tannadice. Or the goal that was wrongfully disallowed. But with this particular incident, everyone appears to want to ridicule Hatate and make up false allegations about his intentions.

It’s getting absolutely embarrassing now. It was a yellow card and nothing more. End of debate.