Hajime Moriyasu’s Hatate and Kyogo snub troubles Champagne Charlie

Charlie Nicholas knows a thing or two about leaving Celtic for supposed greener pastures elsewhere, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see the former Celtic striker, who was known as Champagne Charlie during is sparkling first stint at in the Hoops, has used his Scottish Daily Express to highlight his concerns that an international snub for Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate may force the players to consider their international aspirations as being under threat by playing in the Scottish Premiership.

Reo Hatate is injured during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday March 18, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh
“Japan snubbing Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate is beneficial for Celtic in the short term – but the issue could eventually cost the club two of their best players.
“National boss Hajime Moriyasu cited the quality of Scottish football as a factor in his decision and, as far as I can see, that is the only thing holding them back. But it does worry me that Kyogo and Hatate might get frustrated if they continue to get overlooked for call-ups.
“They are passionate about their country and good ambassadors for Japan. They will want to add to their caps but Moriyasu’s remarks could leave them wondering if they do need to move to a bigger league to realise their international ambitions,” Charlie Nicholas states.
Reo Hatate leaves the pitch injured during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park against Hibs on Saturday March 18, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu has already used the standard of the Scottish Premiership as part – but not all – of his reasoning for omitting both Hatate and Kyogo from his Kirin Cup squad. Yet he has also somewhat contradicted himself by including Daizen Maeda in the players selected – and Maeda’s outstanding World Cup form certainly didn’t appear to be blunted any by playing in Scotland week in week out.

Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu gestures to Daizen Maeda during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022. (Photo by FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

In the case of Hatate the Celtic playmaker has only ever been a peripheral figure on the edge of the Japan squad, meanwhile Kyogo’s omission is probably more likely due to Moriyasu operating a system that appears to prefer to avoid the use of out and out strikers. As such there is more to the exclusion of Hatate and Kyogo than merely playing in Scotland.

That said the standard of Scottish football is arguably at an all-time low bar the top two teams in the league, with Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen all in the mix to finish third despite both Hibs and Aberdeen having dreadfully inconsistent seasons and Hearts having a season massively impacted by injuries to key players. The fact all three of those clubs remain in the hunt to finish best of the rest in Scotland is hardly a ringing endorsement for the quality on offer from the rest of the runners and riders.

Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate Celtic’s League Cup final win over theRangers. Photo Kenny Ramsay

Yet if Celtic do win the league this season, then Champions League football will once again be a by-product of our domestic success, and both Hatate and Kyogo will be more than aware that any transfers out of Celtic may not come with access to Europe’s premier competition attached.

A point worth making is that Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu seems to have overlooked the fact that Daizen Maeda is plying his trade in the same league as Hatate and Maeda and while he is enjoying a fine season he is perhaps not at the same level as his other two teammates in terms of performances and contribution.

Both Kyogo and Hatate will also be aware that a good showing at that level will certainly persuade their Japanese boss that despite playing in Scotland they can be trusted upon to perform at the highest level, and as such be more than suitable for consideration for future Japanese squad selection.

Charlie Nicholas is quite right to raise his concerns, after all it will certainly also have crossed the minds of many within the Celtic support when both players were omitted from Hajime Moriyasu’s Kirin Cup collective, on the back of also missing out on the World Cup squad for Qatar.

Yet, as pointed out above, they only need to look to Daizen Maeda for evidence that international aspirations can be met playing for Celtic, particularly if you perform at Champions League level. Something both players will hopefully get the chance to prove later this year.

Niall J


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About Author

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.

1 Comment

  1. He annoys me, does Champagne Charlie! It is particularly vexatious when someone (or he himself) tries to use a phrase like “Celtic supporter” or “Celtic minded” in the same sentence! These five Japanese bhoys obviously were not born Celts, but they are Celts now and we are proud of the whole lot of them. Charlie on the other hand was born a Celt – and in season 1980/81 was probably the best player on the planet. (My dad thought he was as good as Patsy Gallacher – nearly!) but then he threw it all away.
    PS Good article, Niall!