Reo Hatate’s return to the Celtic team amid the run-in has been nothing short of a monumental boost.

The Japanese midfielder has had an influential impact since coming back from injury but in Saturday’s Glasgow derby, he didn’t perhaps steal the show as much as he would have liked to.

Reo Hatate
22nd October 2023; Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Scottish Premiership Football, Hearts versus Celtic; Reo Hatate of Celtic

In derbies gone by, Hatate has been ever-so pivotal but he was quiet at the weekend culminating in his withdrawal with 10 to go.

On a booking, Brendan Rodgers bringing off the 26-year-old for the ever-reliable Tomoki Iwata was a wise change but even more so when you hear the reasoning behind it.

Indeed, one part of Hatate’s game caused him to be brought off in the latter stages, according to Rodgers.

He said: [RecordSport] “My message at 2-1 was just to keep the ball and manage the game.

“That’s why Reo came off. He’s a big talent but he gives it away too much for my liking.

“As a midfielder, you have to control the game. You have to show love for the ball and take care of it. It was too loose and sloppy. The game became more tense than it should have been.”

Although his ball retention isn’t up there with someone like James Forrest, Hatate’s dynamism and ability to pick a pass no one else can is invaluable.

He isn’t afraid to attempt balls that seem impossible but when defending a lead late on, Rodgers rightly thought giving it away cheaply could prove costly.

The gaffer managed the game well, but he thinks his side could have had more than two goals on another day.

He said: “We missed a penalty to make it 3-1 and that’s a game that could have ended up 5-1 or 6-1. That’s the downside but if you win a game against Rangers the upsides are much greater.”


  1. I’ve seldom seen us been so sloppy on the ball as we were in the last 15 minutes on Saturday.
    Some of our players seem to lack game intelligence.
    A couple of times Idah could have went to the corner but simply lost the ball.
    Simple five yard passes seemed beyond a few players as we attempted to close out the match.

  2. I liked scales when he first came to celtic but what has happened to him he plays like he’s in a junior league


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