The story the other day about Reo Hatate, and how tired he gets right now, was not exactly news. We saw what this boy is capable of when he’s fully firing and he looks far and away the most exciting midfield talent Scotland has seen in years.
(Yes, including Mr Wonderful at Ibrox, £2 million in loan fees and for what?)
Hatate is a magician.
Next season, when he’s rested, when he’s ready, we will see the best of this exceptionally gifted footballer and it will be something alright. When he and the other Japanese have had a chance to rest and recuperate we will unleash them on a game which isn’t ready for them.
You can already see that clearly.
Hatate’s admission sent the media and the sites and forums across the city into a frenzy of excitement.
Some of the coverage suggested that the whole Celtic team is dead on its feet. They all ignore that this was one guy, speaking for himself, and talking after a full campaign prior to arriving in January.
This is the latest straw they are clutching to.
It means nothing. You expect a guy who’s played that many games in short order to be tired.
It doesn’t mean that the rest of this team is, or that we’re about to crash.
There are five games left; if we win the next three we’re champions.
Win four out of five and it won’t matter where the dropped points come.
Winning three in total is probably enough to get us there.
This is in the palm of our hands.
They shouldn’t be excited over there because we had a bad day at the office and one player is tired.
This isn’t a sign of an impending collapse.
We have many more footballers at the club than just the one the press is focussed on, and although he’s been exceptional there is Turnbull and O’Riley and there is McCarthy and all can step into his shoes.
This is what we’ve built the big squad for.
This is why we’ve assembled this team, so that when one guy has to step back we can replace him with somebody else.
Even if the kid doesn’t feel like he can pull on the boots again this season – and he’ll play plenty of minutes and we know he will – this isn’t something from which we can’t recover.
He is more tired than most, but he has plenty of mitigation for that.
Maeda, who works even harder, is still going strong but that’s just one of those things. Hatate has played more games this year than he ever expected to, and he’s entitled to feel beat.
But just because he is it doesn’t mean that Celtic as a team is. We’ve got plenty left in the tank; more than enough to get over this line. The press and our rivals shouldn’t get too excited.