Photo: Reo Hatate officially unveiled; gives first interview, Celtic squad number revealed

By Euan Davidson

January 8, 2022

Reo Hatate has finally been unveiled by Celtic, and he’s spoken of his excitement for playing at Paradise under the eye of Ange Postecoglou.

Hatate joins the club from consecutive J League winners Kawasaki Frontale. Ange described him as a “ridiculous talent” who’s had a lot of success. Postecoglou wants to play Hatate in the midfield, quashing any lasting rumours of Hatate being brought in to play left-back.

And now, at long last, we’ve heard from Hatate himself. Introduced to Celtic fans, he’s been handed his shirt number and spoken to Celtic’s in-house media for the first time [Celtic FC].

Hatate said [Celtic FC]: “I am extremely honoured to finally be able to wear this historical uniform.

“I’ve only been able to see Celtic Park on videos and pictures, so I’m really excited to finally be able to experience this great stadium and I’m extremely looking forward to meeting the fans and playing in front of them.

“As a Japanese, it’s really exciting to see a manager who has experience in Japan and in the international stage.

“In Japan, I have always played against his teams but I’ve always observed and thought his way of playing is very strategical and attacking, so it’s extremely fun for the audience.”

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

New Celtic man Reo Hatate handed no.41 shirt, embracing “fun” with Ange Postecoglou

Personally, I can’t wait to see Reo Hatate get going for Celtic. He looks a fantastic prospect, who can play deeper to support either Tom Rogic or David Turnbull.

That’s exactly the kind of player we’ve needed. It’ll undoubtedly help Callum McGregor having him there, and he looks a good fit for the system Ange Postecoglou wants to play.

It’s fascinating to hear another player talk about how Ange Postecoglou made such an impact in Japanese football. The players who’ve arrived from the J League have all pointed to the influence of Ange in their decision to come to Celtic.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But clearly, for Hatate, the stadium and the history of the club matter too.

We’ll be glued to how he, Maeda and Ideguchi get on after making their moves to Celtic. It’s an exciting time around Paradise right now.

Read more: Chris Sutton backs Celtic Academy graduate who has “unbelievable ability”