Reo Hatate looks ready to start for Celtic again

By John McGinley

August 21, 2022

One of the big positives coming out of today’s win over Hearts at Celtic Park, beyond the obvious three points, was the impact of Reo Hatate from the bench.

The Japanese midfielder came into the match in the 56th minute to help turn around a sluggish start to the second half. He did that, to an extent, and was undoubtedly one of the better performers after the interval.

His influence was evident at both ends of the pitch, getting onto the end of Hearts balls into the box while equally trying to spark attacks that would trouble goalkeeper Ross Stewart.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Hatate was arguably a surprise exclusion from the starting eleven today, considering his excellent pre-season and position in the team before being injured against Aberdeen.

David Turnbull was preferred. You’d hardly say it was a mistake. It was Turnbull’s quick ball into Daizen Maeda that led to Kyogo Furuhashi’s opening goal. He made his mark today.

However, looking ahead, the Japanese international appears ready to again get the nod in a starting eleven, and it could come as early as next week against Dundee United, or in the cup game away to Ross County.

Hatate allows Celtic to progress from their own half into the final third at a quicker pace. His movement is sharper than Turnbull’s, and he’s better at implementing the one and two-touch style that Celtic’s coaching staff were reinforcing over the summer.

Both are valid picks and will get plenty of minutes over the coming weeks but I would like to see Hatate start to build his minutes again in a Celtic shirt, with huge games against Rangers and in the Champions League coming very soon.

If we can get the midfielder peaking for that run, he could be one of our most important assets.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou reveals Sead Haksabanovic move to Celtic is ‘getting close’.