Pre-Season Ends With A Celtic Win And A Very Clear Man Of The Match.

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So that was it, folks, that was pre-season.

Did it seem to go in quickly, or has this dragged like Hell? To me, it’s gone in the blink of an eye and that’s good because I thought it was going to be long and drawn on and draggy. It has done everything but.

So we’re ready for combat to resume. But how ready? Well, we’re more ready than last season. In fact, I think we’re more ready for a season than I’ve ever seen us. The bulk of the transfer business is done, early, and we’ve tweaked rather than rebuilt.

Today what most people hoped for was a good defensive display, and we got it. The new boy looked solid and composed. Our left back showed us that steady improvement we’ve had from him game after game. But one man stole the show today from the signings, and he was head and shoulders above every footballer on the park.

Reo Hatate was exceptional. I have long harboured the suspicion that he could be player of the year and I’ve said so on this site.

Talking last night on the Endless Celts show about the way I’ve felt all the way through pre-season – that I’ve never been able to pick a possible player of the year without changing my mind a million times – I did hover on the idea of Hatate … because I’m genuinely convinced that even with Kyogo, Abada and Jota in the team he’s our best technical footballer.

We are lucky to have so many of them, of course, and it’s going to be the difference when this season starts. But Hatate, to me, stands out because he can do things that no-one else in the team can, or would think to do.

He showed that today in flashes.

When the whistle blew and the man of the match was announced nobody was in the slightest doubt who it was going to be. He has been one of the standouts through this whole phase of preparation, and although he’s not alone in shining he has burned brightest.

Here’s a strange stat. Kyogo has two, Maeda has two and Giakoumakis has one. Hatate has two, O’Riley has two.

But our top scorer in this pre-season is a guy who has largely gone unsung; David Turnbull.

He has a big part to play in the season ahead and he got his third today.

When a player such as this has been doing his thing without much hype, you know this as strong as squad as we’ve had going into the season for many, many years.

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  • Eamonn Little says:

    Very strong looking indeed.i still think Ange would like Ajeti and Julien moved on and a sitting midfielder and another wide player in.If this happens we are done for the summer and looking very strong indeed.

  • Tim Buffy says:

    Hatate is an outstanding talent but, as was demonstrated by McLean in the opening seconds, he is fast becoming a marked man. I don’t know what McLean was trying to prove but perhaps if we had a midfielder with a nasty streak in them opponents would be less willing to invite retribution. Things looking really bright but I’d like to see us making more use of Kyogo. Maybe his movement has got his team mates puzzled as well

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    Mr collum gave us a wee taste of what Hatate can expect from Scottish refs next season…NONE!!.
    Two weeks in a row the guys had no protection from the officials.
    Let’s hope he can avoid serious injury once the hammer throwers like lunstrum etc get to work on him.
    Celtic need to highlight any rough treatment that goes unpunished right from the off.

    • Nick66 says:

      Agree Benny, some really “odd” Gollum refereeing choices. Now that first choice Ref has transferred south, the auditions are starting to replace. Madhun is gone, long live the Newhun.

  • Nick66 says:

    What i saw today James was a squad that kept a clean sheet, even after the exodus and influx of 60min subs. Reo, MOTM, Hattiptae, Bernabei when settled showed some worth. I liked what I saw today, a good depth in the squad is starting to come through. Dons due a skelping next week i think.

  • Johnny Green says:

    James, your unbridled enthusiasm for the start of the season is shared by us all.

    We are fully armed and may the battles commence.

  • Jamie Craig says:

    Absolutely spot on James, be difficult to pick a player of the year this year I think. HH.

  • Bob (original) says:

    We all know that Hatate is a player, but was blown away with his work rate against Norwich.

    His defensive cover was very impressive: he was all over the pitch.

    And it looks like Ange’s biggest problem this season,

    will be deciding who to leave out of the starting 11.

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