The enticing J League tie that Celtic supporters will be keeping tabs on

By Euan Davidson

November 30, 2021

It may be at 5am on Saturday morning, but there’s a J League bout that Celtic fans might do well to wake up for.

Kawasaki Frontale take on Ange Postecoglou’s former team, Yokohama F Marinos in the final game of the J League season. From a competitive point of view, it’s a dead rubber, Frontale being this season’s Champions. But the rivalry between the teams in recent years has made this an enticing tie.

Foremost, though, it’s an opportunity for Celtic supporters to watch Daizen Maeda take on Reo Hatate. If you told us 6, 7 months ago that this might seem an obvious one, we’d have given you a quizzical look.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Hatate, of course, has been the subject of much reporting overnight. The Daily Record believe that a deal is on the way, and that the former Japan youth international is being eyed as a left-back.

Daizen Maeda, he of ridiculous sprinting records, has been linked with the club for weeks. The Times reported in mid-October that Celtic were “confident” about their chances of landing Maeda.

So, for the wannabe Celtic scouts amongst us, a 5am tie in the Japanese top-tier holds a lot of intrigue. Will Hatate help to quiet Maeda? Or will the striker ruin the versatile Hatate’s chances of a Celtic move with another dominant performance?

Celtic could be set for a welcome Kyogo boost, as Japan shuts its borders

Celtic could be set for a welcome Kyogo boost, as Japan shuts its borders
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

If you told us this time last year that a J League season ender held intrigue for Celtic supporters…

How quickly times change in football. Nobody could realistically have predicted that we’d have a J League champion in the Celtic dugout. Nor that our star signing would be the league’s top scorer.

Not to say that there isn’t history between Celtic and Japanese players, obviously. But unless I’m mistaken, there hasn’t been a Japan player wearing the Hoops since Koki Mizuno.

Clearly, though, we ought to have been paying attention. We now know first-hand how much talent there is in the Japanese top flight. It’s easy to say with hindsight, of course, but there were moves we could’ve made in the past.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Will you be either staying up or waking early to catch Kawasaki Frontale v Yokohama F Marinos? For sure, there’ll be some of those employed at Celtic doing just that.

That probably includes our manager.

At the very least, it should be an entertaining game of football between two very decent sides. Whereas at most, it could be a match that provides real insight on two prominently linked players.

Read more: “Our style is similar”; Celtic star Jota makes incredible comparison, fans will be delighted