Reo Hatate says J League accolades don't matter as he embarks on Celtic adventure

By Euan Davidson

January 12, 2022

Reo Hatate insists that J League accolades and winning a title with Kawasaki Frontale has no bearing on how he’ll do at Celtic.

After being unveiled to fan media, an event in which 67 Hail Hail took part, the new Hoops midfielder tackled a range of questions. As he did, he wasn’t giving an awful lot away, but he did reveal an interesting perspective on his previous career achievements.

Hatate, who has a famous father in Japanese baseball, was named in the 2021 J League Team of the Year [Japan Times]. He’s also won two J League titles with Kawasaki Frontale.

Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

The Japanese midfielder was a star for Frontale last season. In 30 appearances, he scored 5 and set up 2 from midfield, and also played a chunk of the season at left-back [Transfermarkt]. He’s also been capped at youth levels for Japan, and featured in the Olympic team in last year’s Tokyo Games.

However, he’s refusing to dwell on the past, however recent.

Instead, he’s focused on what he can do at Celtic. Asked by The Sellik, the Thunder about the confidence from his previous achievements, Hatate said [67 Hail Hail/YouTube]: “Being selected as a top player in Japan was good but over here it doesn’t matter.

“Those awards don’t matter.

“I just want to focus here and play really well here and find my style.”

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Daizen Maeda already loving Glasgow, as Ange bolsters Celtic backroom team
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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)
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Reo Hatate refusing to dwell on past as Celtic opportunity comes

It’s a great attitude to have, certainly. A lot of players would be dead happy to have been recognised as one of the league’s best players. Perhaps he was at the time, but this is clearly a player who doesn’t want to rest on his laurels.

And to be honest, that’s exactly what Celtic need. He’s not alone in wanting to prove a point, either. Yosuke Ideguchi has already expressed a desire to make up for his difficult spell at Leeds United. Daizen Maeda had a brief spell in Europe, but it didn’t entirely go to plan. All three Japanese players Ange has brought in this window have a chip on their shoulder.

That’s important. Especially with what’s at stake this season.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

While Celtic certainly needed bodies through the door, they needed to have the correct attitude with it. Especially for a manager as demanding as Ange Postecoglou, who expects so much from his players.

If Hatate is being entirely earnest here, it sets a real tone. He’s fresh off winning a title and being recognised as one of Japan’s best players. But it “doesn’t matter”.

Encouraging stuff.

Read more: Report: Derby could trigger contract clause to keep hold of Celtic target Lee Buchanan