Celtic: 'Exciting midfielder' could become 'star performer' at Parkhead

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou

Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate could be a “star performer” at Parkhead next season once he gets a full pre-season under his belt, according to Sky Sports reporter Anthony Joseph.

The Japanese international joined the Glasgow giants in January and played an important part in their surge towards the Scottish Premiership title.

How did Hatate perform last season?

When Hatate made the switch to Celtic, Ange Postecoglou’s side still trailed Rangers by six points in the race for the league, but his impact in green and white immediately turned the race on its head.

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Having scored a crucial first goal for the Hoops in a narrow win at Hearts in only his second game for the club, the 24-year-old then produced a scintillating display in the Old Firm derby to earn Celtic a 3-0 victory.

Hatate scored twice, including a sumptuous second goal, and laid on an assist, which led to ex-Celtic left-back Andy Robertson describing him as a ‘serious player‘.

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He would find the net just once more before the end of the campaign, but he would end with seven goal contributions in 17 league outings, which was a respectable return for someone who joined halfway through the season.

What did Joseph say about Hatate?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “Reo Hatate, who’s their exciting midfielder they’ve got, but you could see he was tiring.

“He played a full season in Japan, then had some cup games and went straight into half a season with Celtic and he even said himself that he was tired and struggling to keep up with the pace.

“He was making decisions himself as to whether to go in for a tackle, whether to chase that ball, because he’s shattered, so he really needs a good rest and a good pre-season because I think he could be a star performer next season.”

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Are Celtic favourites for the title?

The season might be more than four weeks away, but the champions are already looking a good bet to retain their Scottish Premiership crown.

Postecoglou’s men will not only head into the campaign on a 32-game unbeaten run in the league, which stretches back to September, but they’re already making huge strides in the window, having signed three players, which should soon become four once Jota joins permanently.

Furthermore, Celtic earning a place in the Champions League group stage gave them a financial boost, which could increase their transfer budget and give them an extra edge over Rangers in the race for the title.

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