Hatate injury a huge blow but also a big opportunity

The Reo Hatate news delivered by Brendan Rodgers yesterday was a big blow but it has to be said it was not unexpected. Ahead of the game at Easter Road Brendan admitted that the Japan international’s hamstring looked like a bad one then reckoned he’d be missing for a couple of weeks.

19th December 2021; Hampden Park, Scottish League Cup final, Hibernian versus Celtic: David Turnbull of Celtic pulls up with a hamstring injury.

That was wishful thinking and we just have to look back to the two bad hamstring injuries suffered by David Turnbull and Kyogo in December 2021 and the length of time they were sidelined as a result to have known that Reo wasn’t going to play to “after Christmas” as Brendan put it yesterday.

Boxing Day is “after Christmas” but so is ‘Valentine’s Day” and St Partick’s Day.

The moist immediate concern is do we have anyone to step up and replace Reo who is clearly one of the most important players in the Celtic squad?

Reo Hatate of Celtic looks dejected as he leaves the field after sustaining an injury during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park Stadium on October 25, 2023 . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That’s why Celtic Park held its breath when Reo Hatate trudged off injured after only 5 minutes against Atletico Madrid last Wednesday night.

It wasn’t known or confirmed what the extent of the injury is until yesterday’s media conference with the Celtic manager.

Reo walked off so we hoped that was a good sign reckoned that it didn’t look that bad, but yesterday morning news started to ne reported that Reo has suffered a tear in his hamstring and he would be out until the New Year.

That’s grim news indeed. Not what the Celtic support or Reo himself wanted to hear that’s for sure. Hatate has of course already had his injury issues this season and we clearly missed him in his absence as he’s a superb player. One who is vital in the way we play.

Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

This injury blow now opens the door for the likes of Paulo Bernardo, Odin Thiago Holm and David Turnbull to stake a claim for a place in the side. But they’ve all got to produce the goods as Reo is very much a player who makes us tick in the middle of the park when it comes to creativity.

I have my doubts if any of the mentioned players can replicate the same guile Reo gives us. Another option is to play Tomoki Iwata as the number 6 and push the captain Callum McGregor further up the pitch.

It’s a big blow for the Celtic support and a headache for the Celtic manager. However it is an opportunity for one of the fringe players to grab with both hands and make themselves first pick players in the Celtic team under Brendan Rodgers.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan is out now and Neil Lennon, the Celtic captain that season, has written the foreword for us.

You can get a signed copy of the hardback version direct from Celtic Star Books by clicking on the image below. It’s also available an an e-book via Amazon Kindle and please note that all colour photographs that appear in the beautifully presented printed hardback book are also available in the Kindle version of Majic, Stan and the King of Japan…

About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. No doubt Reo is going to be a massive loss for ourselves.
    As its a huge problem, a solution has to be found.
    As a squad is usually formed with 2 players available for the formation of the team and style of play, then turnbull was the original candidate for the position?
    Yet he has proved to be a poor back up option still, which brings his celtic future into doubt now, with failing on far to many occasions and without any level of consistency whatsoever.
    Using Taylor to help with the overloading the midfield area has hardly been to successful against the low block defensive set up either.
    Our set plays still remain as powder puff also, where we don’t offer much of an aireal threat either.
    I still think that the ball playing 3CB option could be useful for ourselves in such games like the Hibs one.
    Allow for more creative players in the midfield areas that the use of FB in doing so imo.
    Allow for calmac to push further forward than sitting so deep.
    Oreily has been outstanding as our box to box midfielder, yet there remains games when his attacking skills are needed far more than the defensive ones also.
    When teams aren’t prepared to press ourselves, then our full backs role are becoming less useful in such games, where a more attack minded approach may be more suitable, and more available options for the set plays also.
    Still think Rodgers has to find better solutions for the games between team’s who are prepared to attack us, against the teams that aren’t.
    Could that mean a different approach to team set up in such cases?
    I’ve long though it’s a potential option, and yet still to see it put into action?
    Just fear that we can become to predictable within our play, with sticking with a like for like approach, especially when the gap between 1st and 2nd choices in positions remains as big as it is currently imo