“I want to win as many titles as possible,” Reo Hatate

Interesting comments from Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate in his always insightful blog post on Japanese outlet Sportiva. It’s clearly been a very tough year for the Japanese Maestro but he is determined to make up for lost time and show that “Celtic need Reo Hatate” for the title run in. Here’s what Reo has been writing on his Sportiva blog…

Football: Asian Cup Japan s Reo Hatate R weighs up his options in the second half of a group stage match against Indonesia at the Asian Cup football tournament at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Jan. 24, 2024.

“I have been repeatedly injured and not been able to contribute to the team,” Reo stated. “I want to win as many titles as possible and I want to show the Celtic fans a performance that once again makes them think, ‘Celtic need Reo Hatate’.

“During my rehabilitation in preparation for my return, I reviewed everything. This included preparation for competitions, physical strength, training content and diet. The most recent injury was my third this season and although it was in a different location, it was a huge shock to have sustained a similar injury over and over again.

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)

“When I returned to Scotland after the Asian Cup, my heart sank for a while. I had also been injured in a match against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on October 25 last year. I was disappointed at that moment, but quickly recovered.

Reo Hatate leaves the park injured. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

“I thought to myself, ‘I will definitely recover from my injury and participate in the Asian Cup’. By setting clear goals for my return, I was able to stay much more positive. However, this time, it was difficult for me to change my mind because I had been injured playing in a competition that had been my goal.”

Reo relied on his parents to help him through the early weeks of his rehab and once again he had to work hard to get himself back to fitness. These were, in Reo’s words, “dark times’ for him personally.

I handled my feelings and emotions as I felt them and I spent a lot of time feeling depressed.

Celtic v Athletic Bilbao – Pre Season Friendly – Celtic Park Celtics Reo Hatate ahead of the pre-season friendly match Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Tuesday August 1, 2023. Photo Robert Perry

“However, that doesn’t mean I cut corners in my rehab or that I neglected my daily life. I was doing my best in everything but, to put it simply, I just wasn’t motivated and had no energy. However, there are people who care about me and who worry about me, including, of course, my family. My father was concerned about my injury and my mother was also concerned about my condition. They contacted me, which naturally led me to become more positive,” Reo stated.

“It’s one thing not to force yourself to control or maintain your feelings and sometimes just to surrender to the flow,” he added. “There are very few people who have everything going well in their life. What seems like a long detour to you often turns out to be a shortcut.

“There are times when I have thought I didn’t have to experience something. But later I realise I was glad I had. The same goes for injuries. I realised that, whether you think it’s a waste of time or whether you can even use that time to your advantage, depends on your own way of thinking and how you perceive it.”

Reo Hatate of Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Hatate’s inclusion in the Japan squad for the Asian Cup was certainly a surprise as he’d only returned from the injury picked up in that Champions League match against Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park in October. Looking back on it Hatate now believes that he wasn’t as fit as he could have been against Bahrain before suffering that freakish double calf injury.

“After the injury, I looked back at myself and thought the following, ‘Why this timing?’ Now that I think about it, there was something off about the match against Bahrain.

“This is just an afterthought and it’s just a feeling, but even when I was playing, I felt a little different than usual. The feeling of passing was a little different than usual and I might not have been able to see my surroundings as usual.

“In terms of distance, the error was only one or two centimetres. In terms of volume of work, the difference was only one or two marks on the scale. But I really felt a definite difference.

“Conditions vary from game to game, so I don’t think that was a factor that directly led to the injury. However, when an accident occurs, it is probably due to a combination of these factors.

“I was unable to swallow my frustration on the pitch, but after the Asian Cup my feelings for the Japanese national team grew even more,” Reo said.

Certainly Hahate’s absence has been to the detriment to Celtic’s season. Having him back and looking sharp at the weekend, even on the plastic pitch at Livingston is a huge boost for Celtic as he head to the closing stages of the season chasing down a league and Scottish cup double. With Reo Hatate fit and in the team then Celtic’s chances of achieving that double target improve significantly.

Welcome back Reo! It’s time for a Beautiful Sunday!…

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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