Celtic fans have been on a rollercoaster of emotions so far this term. From early-season struggles to a morale-boosting win against bitte rivals Rangers, the journey has been anything but smooth. However, former Celtic striker and Sky Sports pundit, Chris Sutton, believes things are about to get much better for Celtic.

The big man believes that Reo Hatate could be the missing piece in Celtic’s jigsaw puzzle. If manager Brendan Rodgers can unlock Hatate’s full potential, the Englishman argues that it would be akin to adding a £10 million player to the squad as he wrote in his RecordSport column. Given Hatate’s undeniable quality, it’s a sentiment that many Celtic fans would echo. The Japanese midfielder was, in Sutton’s eyes, Scotland’s Player of the Year last term, and his absence from the starting lineup has been noticeable.

Reo Hatate
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Celtic v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – July 29, 2023 Celtic’s Reo Hatate in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mario Lemina REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Celtic’s early-season form has been a cause for concern, with a disappointing exit from the Viaplay Cup and dropped points at home. However, Sutton points out that the recent win over The Rangers could be a turning point. The victory has injected a much-needed dose of confidence and positivity around the club, setting the stage for a the rest of the campaign.

Callum McGregor’s standout performance against Rangers didn’t go unnoticed by Sutton either. Described as the “heartbeat” of the team, McGregor’s influence is pivotal for Celtic’s success. The Sky Sports pundit also heaps praise on Matt O’Riley, lauding his ability to contribute both offensively and defensively. However, he does express reservations about David Turnbull’s inconsistency in big matches, a concern that Rodgers will need to address.

New signing Paulo Bernardo has caught Sutton’s eye, and the pundit is optimistic about what the youngster can bring to the table. Drawing parallels with Jota’s successful transition from Benfica to Celtic, Sutton believes Bernardo has the technical ability to make an immediate impact.

Ultimately, Chris wants to see Hatate to focus on his fitness and commit to a new contract with Celtic. With the Champions League on the horizon, performing well on Europe’s biggest stage could be Hatate’s stepping stone to more lucrative things.

REUTERS/Russell Cheyne


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