After securing the domestic double under new coach Ange Postecoglou during the 2021-22 campaign, Celtic looks set to resume from where they left off last season. The Scottish side have certainly impressed during their pre-season campaign and have also gone unbeaten during these six friendly fixtures.
The Bhoys have looked like a well-oiled machine, having scored 20 goals across their pre-season games.
While the squad has certainly looked like champions on the pitch, individually perhaps it would be unanimously agreed by fans of the club that Japanese international Reo Hatate has looked the most impressive.
Since making his switch to Glasgow from J-League side Kawasaki Frontale back in January, the 24-year-old central midfielder managed to register 4 goals and 2 assists in just 13 appearances. This output is truly worth appreciation especially for a player experiencing his debut season in a European league.
Hatate’s shift in midfield proved to be crucial in pushing Celtic to secure the Scottish Premiership ahead of bitter rivals Rangers last season.
After enjoying his summer time off, it looks like the Japanese international has returned to Celtic Park determined to match last season’s efforts after he thoroughly dominated the midfield during Celtic’s pre-season matches while also scoring two goals. His pinpoint long passes and ball retention skills seem to have captivated Celtic supporters who are in love with their Japanese recruit.
After the Bhoys vanquished Championship side Norwich City in a 2-0-win last week, Celtic fans were more than happy with Hatate, whose eye-catchy performance bagged him the man of the match award. With supporters keen to show their appreciation, the Celtic Park attendees unveiled a brand new chant for the player which seems to have now made its way to even a local bar in Glasgow.
“Hey oh, Reo Hatate
The Celtic get excited when they see you play,
It’s strange that this feeling grows more and more,
But we’ve never had a player like you before,
Hey oh, Reo Hatate”
After picking up the man of the match award against Norwich, Hatate thanked the Celtic Park faithful for applauding him and embracing him with open arms at the club.
“It made me happy. I heard them and it was nice to do so, I would like to satisfy their expectations. I will play for the team and for the supporters. I don’t know how sharp I am, but we still have a long week, so I will do everything I can to start the season well,” revealed Hatate in an interview.
Surely enough, the Japanese international delivered a fine shift this time in the role of DM as Celtic kicked off their Scottish Premiership defence with a 2-0 win against Aberdeen on Sunday.
With the club having achieved automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2008-09 season, all eyes and hopes will be on Hatate to continue his influential performances in midfield when Celtic come up against some of the biggest names in Europe.