Stiliyan Petrov has backed Reo Hatate to have an even greater impact on the Celtic side next season after settling into life in Glasgow.
Upon watching the Japanese midfielder for the first time in January, instantly I thought Celtic had a player on their hands.
He will be most fondly remembered for the terrific brace which he scored in the derby match at the beginning of February that catapulted the Hoops to the top of the premiership table.
Hatate’s rocket at Tynecastle past Craig Gordon wasn’t too bad a strike either in a game which really showed the sides resilience.
“He is miles away from family and friends and there is a language barrier. The language is a big thing. I know people say you have interpreters, but that is not going to help him all the time,” said Stiliyan Petrov speaking to the Daily Record.
“When you are in a playing environment, players want to hear you speak. Even if you don’t speak the language they want to see you try and make the effort.
“That is why he has to understand the language and that is difficult. You listen and, when you are not involved in that and don’t understand those conversations, it is very very difficult.
“I would go home and I would not be able to discuss having something on my mind.
“Or if I was happy or unhappy, I couldn’t say it. This will be him.
Petrov speaks from a position of experience having been in the exact same situation as Hatate all those years ago.
With all those barriers in front of him, the Japanese midfielder still absolutely thrived and made a big impact on the side.
He returns to pre-season training with a taste of what it’s like to play in Scottish football and the expectation which comes from playing at club like Celtic.
The player like the rest of them looks to have good relationships within the team which reflects Ange Postecoglou’s goal of signing the right kind of player.