Every Celtic fan was on their pinnacle of happiness after beating Rangers 3-0 in the Old Firm Derby last day. Celtic won a derby match against Rangers after 2019 and ended their seven games winless run in the Old Firm Derby.
The players’ determination and the enormous support of the Celtic fans helped the team win and grab the three points in the Scottish Premiership. There was one player who stood out for Celtic throughout the game. Reo Hatate, the Japanese midfielder Celtic signed in the winter transfer window.
Reo Hatate’s significant development in football happened while he was in J-League.
Hatate was born in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture and played youth football for FC Yokkaichi. While studying at the Juntendo University, it was announced that Hatate would sign for J1 League side Kawasaki Frontale in 2020, when he graduates. He joined Frontale in 2018 as a designated special player and was approved to continue as a designated player in 2019.
Hatate made his debut at the end of the 2019 J1 League season, coming on as a substitute for Hiroyuki Abe in a 2–1 win over Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.
The following season, he would go on to establish himself in the Kawasaki Frontale team. Due to his versatility, he was primarily utilised as a left wing-back but also played as an attacking midfielder and on both wings. He finished the season with six goals in 38 appearances in all competitions as Frontale went on to win the 2020 J1 League.
On 31 December 2021, Hatate was announced to have signed for Celtic for an undisclosed fee. On 17 January, he made his debut against Hibernian and was awarded man of the match.
Former Celtic legends and other football pundits highly praised the performance of the Japanese midfielder.
Former Celtic star Mark Wilson said that Reo Hatate is everything a Celtic midfielder should be. He pointed out that the midfielder does not shy away from doing the dirty work for the team.
The former player said: “The way he has just fitted into the Celtic side, he just sums up everything that a Celtic midfielder should be. His goals and assists will obviously grab the headlines, but I always look at the other side of the game as well from these guys, the dirty side.”
“Sprinting 50 yards back to help your full-back, getting into tackles wholeheartedly in the first-half when your side need you – that’s a sign of a top player. But the boy, if it’s 25 yards and it opens up, he is striking it and he can hit the target. He has got the unbelievable ability and there is a way to make yourself a hero in big games and now he has done that in two big games.”