Hajime Moriyasu – Japan Manager is all out of reasons for overlooking Reo Hatate

Over the course of Reo Hatate’s season so far, the only down side must have been his omission from the Japan squad for the Qatar World Cup. For many of us it was a sign that Japan must have a wealth of talent at their disposal if they could choose to leave Hatate in Glasgow rather than take him to Qatar. And after we all witnessed the Blue Samurai’s matches on the world’s biggest stage, it’s fair to say they proved they do.

Yet since the break in domestic action to accommodate a winter World Cup, Reo Hatate has certainly been making a case for inclusion in Hajime Moriyasu’s future squad announcements, no matter the wealth of talent the Japan boss has at his disposal – with the Celtic playmaker setting about proving his performances in a Celtic shirt are very much worthy of consistent call ups to national service.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On Saturday against Aberdeen at Celtic Park Hatate continued his upward trajectory with two incredible goals and a stand out performance amongst a team chock-full of high-level performances.

The first goal was all about bamboozling the Dons defence, whilst barely actually touching the ball, while the second was a work of art that characterised his strength, awareness and willingness to conclude a move he also started. If Celtic Park was the canvas, the delicate brush strokes came from Reo Hatate.

And this was on the back of another two-goal showing, against St Mirren in the Scottish Cup, where despite only playing for 27 minutes, the Japanese star could have easily laid claim to the man of the match award, with his two-goal intrusion on a game in which Celtic huffed and puffed somewhat until his inclusion, pivotal.

Now this weekend affords Reo Hatate the platform to show his Japanese boss that he can handle the rarefied atmosphere of a Glasgow Derby Viaplay Cup Final and excel.

Reo Hatate of Celtic celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Aberdeen FC at on February 18, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If Reo Hatate continues in his current form in this one there can surely be few question marks left surrounding his claims as an international performer. And you get the feeling the stage is set for Hatate to run the midfield in Sunday’s League Cup Final.

Hatate has eight goals and the same number of assists from 33 appearances in the Hoops this season. Yet worryingly for those who follow Celtic’s Cup Final opponents, only two of those goals were scored prior to the winter break – in a 2-1 win against Motherwell at the beginning of October and against the same opponent, in a 4-0 League Cup win at Fir Park later that month.

Since then, Hatate has scored a further six times, against St Johnstone on Christmas Eve, where he grabbed a double and those further braces against St Mirren and Aberdeen in Celtic’s last two games. It looks therefore that Hatate -as with Celtic – is peaking at just the right time.

: Hajime Moriyasu, Head Coach of Japan, looks on prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium on December 05, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

They say only a fool would predict the outcome of a Glasgow Derby, yet in truth these games predominately go with form and to the team who have the players who do not freeze on the occasion and instead rise above it all.

Reo Hatate is the form player in an in-form team, and whilst I won’t predict the outcome, I’ll give one near guarantee. Whatever happens on Sunday Reo Hatate will be instrumental in proceedings. And when he does so Hajime Moriyasu will be all out of reasons, and purely down to excuses, for keeping Reo Hatate outside his national team’s inner circle.

Niall J


Don’t forget there’s some Friday Night Football under the lights this coming Friday when Fran Alonso’s title challenging Celtic side take on theRangers at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie with the match only open to Celtic supporters.  Celtic are a point ahead of theRangers at the moment and three behind Glasgow City who we play a week on Sunday, also over at Airdrie.  A win against theRangers takes Celtic to the top of the league and a win the following Sunday will really put Celtic in the driving seat for our first ever SWPL1 Title. Get along and support the team, for  full ticket details click below…COYGIG!

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As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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