Here’s The Truth: Celtic Could Lose Hatate, Not Replace Him And Still Win The League.

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Imagine that we woke up tomorrow and found out that Reo Hatate was going to England.

I mean, we’ve already woke up this morning to find out that he’s almost certainly out of the Ibrox game. Which sort of makes the point of this article stronger, as I hope will be clear.

But let’s go with the scenario I outlined; say the club decided to sell him.

Furthermore, imagine we did nothing about that except count the money, stick it in the bank and then get through the rest of the transfer window. What would the practical consequences of that be, in terms of our ability to retain our title?

Without being blasé about it, I would stipulate that the consequences, in terms of our chances of doing that, would be somewhere between modest to non-existent.

With a central midfield which still boasts the talents of McGregor, O’Riley, Turnbull, Holm, Iwata and Kwon it would take a disaster of momentous proportions for us not to win the SPFL.

Don’t get me wrong; I am certainly not advocating that we punt him and bank the proceeds, because if he goes and we don’t replace him I will be extremely pissed off and will make that clear.

I am just trying to take a realists view here, in gaming out the worst possible scenario that could befall us, and I’m doing it because everywhere I turn there is a nearly hysterical over-reaction to the possibility that the window will close without his being at the club.

Could it happen that we get an offer for him and he wants to go?

Yes, it could easily happen and I’ve written about the conversation we, as a club, need to have with him to evaluate that risk.

But those who seem to believe it would represent some kind of Year Zero moment must have missed all the times prior to this that key players have left without Celtic crumbling and falling into ruin.

One of the great things about this Celtic team is that we’re not overly dependent on any one individual, and in a sense his injury comes at a good time for demonstrating that fact. For one thing, it opens the way for Holm to grab his chance and I’m already dying to see what he can offers us, because he looks like a cracker.

Only one departure – that of Kyogo – would significantly shake us up … but the difference is that we would certainly have to go out and buy an immediate replacement for him, and we probably have our target already in mind.

The departure of Hatate, however, would not, in my view, significantly upend our title chances, whether we replaced him or not, not that I think for even one second that he would be allowed to go without us going out and signing somebody to take his place. In the event Hatate does leave, there is no doubt that we would go out and buy a replacement.

I’m just saying that even if we didn’t, I do not believe that it would stop us from being able to beat the other teams in this league with enough regularity that someone else would be crowned champions.

I’ve seen transfer windows come and go, but I can’t remember one which is so stalked by irrational fear.

Every bleep on the rumour mill ticker bar is met with an outpouring of morbidity that Celtic’s time is passing, and that we are surely doomed if certain players leave us.

Even some of the pundits who are broadly sympathetic to our plight, including some who played here and know full well that the departure of big players doesn’t mean The End Of All Things have indulged in this and gotten themselves caught up in the funk.

I’ve been doing this a long time now, and supporting this club for even longer.

I have experienced every emotion associated with attachments to players.

I knew the day would come when Henrik Larsson would no longer be a Celtic striker for years before it happened, mentally fortified myself with that knowledge and still wasn’t ready for it.

And yet, a few months later when the season started, I was back watching the club and the pain of his departure – although not the reality of his absence – had already faded and gone. I found out something then which has stayed with me ever since; the loss you think you’ll feel, and the fear you expect to, are not even close to the reality of it.

Those things, when they come, are more like a whispered voice in a distant room … faded, indistinct.

I didn’t even feel numbness when guys like Dembele and Nakamura and all the heroes who came after Larsson went. I took a moment to wonder what the club would do and then got on with finding a new hero to cheer for.

I just refuse to worry about this stuff anymore.

I refuse to get caught up in it.

I said when Ange left at the end of the campaign that I had mentally unplugged from the idea that we should expect loyalty from any of these guys, and that I would no longer be surprised or angry or upset by anything that happened or any player who departed.

Even when Jota left, I felt more pissed off about his choice of destination than about his leaving the club.

Because we got far more for Jota than I ever thought he was worth, and still maintain that as long as we replace him, I’ll not have any concerns about where it leaves us. For the record, I think we could get by without signing a replacement for him too … but of course, we’re going to and in the next two weeks we’ll find out who that is.

Hatate is a fantastic footballer, and the most exciting midfielder we’ve had at the club since his Japanese counterpart Nakamura was here. I am loathe to see him leave, but I’ve mentally accepted that if it’s not this summer it will most likely be the next.

But I will not beat my chest and rend my garments and wail and gnash my teeth until they cart me out to Hidden Hills and throw me in a room with padded walls. Because we’ll cope.

I don’t just think we’ll be alright if he goes, I know we will be and I’m sure enough of it that I’d still lay heavy paper on us winning the title even if we didn’t immediately rush out and buy a very good footballer to take his place in the side.

This is a strong Celtic squad, as strong a one as I can remember, and there are still some players to come to make it better.

If he goes, he goes.

I will miss him but I will not mourn him, because I’m a Celtic fan first, and we’re not a one-man band.

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  • Chris says:

    If the scenario James suggested came to pass, and our midfield seen the loss of Hatate and Mooy from last season, only replaced with Holm and Kwon, then I wouldn’t be confident of winning the league.
    That would leave a very one paced midfield.
    For me it would be a disaster and a sign that paying a dividend would be more important to the board than pushing the club on, especially for Europe.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Hatate is a very good player but most definitely not irreplaceable. Each one of the Lisbon Lions was irreplaceable, Kenny Dalglish and Henrik Larsson were irreplaceable maybe Danny McGrain. There were other great Celtic players who weren’t in the irreplaceable category.
    At this moment in time Kyogo would be a bigger loss than Hatate in my opinion.
    The two things that are a constant are Celtic FC and the Celtic support. They are very definitely irreplaceable.

  • John says:

    I disagree. To win at Ibrox we need steel in the midfield. They have added it with Cifuetes. He is a very good player and Raskin did well lat year. Those two together are a handful.

  • Bob (original) says:

    If Hatate and a couple of others left – without being replaced – we should still have a strong enough squad to win the league.

    Not another Treble though.

    And we would all know that the Board is taking the piss about having European ambitions.

    Every player has a price: our club should already have the plan in place to replace any departures,

    and with BETTER players.

  • Effarr says:

    Celtic at the moment are OK, nothing more extravagant. The other mob are not all that far behind. Better to temper the superlatives until after they meet THEM.

  • Somehow says:

    Nonsense James Reo is our best player.

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    It could be argued that, with Brendan bringing his own ideas, tactics, formations etc and the midfielders we’ve already signed, that his replacement has already been bought…..


  • Martin says:

    Holm won’t replace Hatate, he’ll replace McGregor.

    Hatate and Abada in contract talks this week. Offski next summer probably, which is fair enough.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Wouldnae go as far as sayin we’d be shafted without him, tho he definitely would be a huge loss tae our mid. His workrate, craft and dig would instantly be missed. Ah like the look of Holm and he looks like he uses the ball well, tho ah don’t see the same dynamic in him as we get wi Hetate. Early days, we’ll see whit happens.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    For the most part I think we will pull a few rabbits outta the hat before the end of the transfer window…

    Then there’s that wee bit of me that that thinks – “Lawwell is back in the building” –

    I think if Sevco get a good doing at Liebrox next week then we might see a bit of The kitty being released…

    If they (heaven forbid) – go through though – we will bloody well need to spend – because as sure as Hell they certainly will !

    Interesting times indeed !

  • Jim says:

    They definitely should not sell him.

    Hatate is one of our best players, a mainstay of the side and continiously improving. The Champions League games this season is when he really pays out for us.

    Jota could be considered a freak occurrence but if we sell Hatate too then it is back to the old days of taking the money and pulling the rug from under the manager’s feet. How does that square with European ambition allegedly being treated seriously this time?

    Also if they push him out the door what message does that send to Maeda and Kyogo? It will make them look like mugs for being loyal, and it will definitely unsettle them.

    Unless he is really spitting the dummy – and it doesn’t seem like Japanese players do that sort of thing – they should make it clear they will turn down all bids and they are keeping him.

  • Brian innes says:

    The worst thing I heard he would stand up so he can see his face if standing up your FUCKiNG looking at the back of his FUCKiNG head hatate can be replace him with the your talent we have no problem tack the money if the prices is right think about it so he not interested in the doing the huddle so he can look at the back of his fuck head cos he’s not looking at his face if all doing the huddle he’s no FUCKiNG interested take the money we have plenty of talent in our team we don’t wont players that don’t DO THE FUCKiNG HUDDLE we are glasgow celtic and all our players do the FUCKING HUDDLE

  • SSMPM says:

    It may be your version of truth but I would be surprised if many agree with such a nonsense. There’s little steel, pace or energy in our midfield as it is. HH

  • Michael McCartney says:

    If the Celtic team this season can’t take care of this mediocre Ibrox mob then we are really in a bad place. Two games into the season is no time to make any judgements on the strength of the team.
    What I would say is that the team from across the city is probably ahead of us in match fitness with the Champions League qualifiers maybe giving them a slight competitive edge.
    Victories for us in the next two games and the signing of a couple of experienced players should take us into the Ibrox game feeling good about ourselves.
    Whereas I am confident they will have been dumped out of the Champions League by PSV 4 days before they meet us.
    After watching PSV cuff Sturm Graz in both games I was very impressed.

  • Tam Stevens says:

    No name on the back of the shirt is bigger than the badge on the front, we have seen better players leave & if Hatate doesn’t play for us any more good luck to the bhoy, but the price needs to be right & a 30 per cent sell on clause added , a hope he stays but others will come in ???????????????????x2??????(8) HH

  • Woodyiom says:

    I agree losing him (and not replacing him) shouldn’t, and probably won’t, affect our chances of winning the league but it sure as h*ll affects our chances of making a fist of the Champions League group stages which is what we’re supposed to be aiming for. Losing Jota, Hatate, Starfelt (and anyone else who has been a mainstay for the last two years) and either replacing them with players who have never played in Euro competitions, (Holm, Kwon, Yang, Tilio, Lagerbielke et al) or worse not replacing them at all, is clearly demonstrating the club has no ambition at that level and simply wants to pocket the money – a worrying sign!!

  • Westcraigs says:

    We could keep hatate and still lose the league.
    I think this championship is too close to call.
    Time will tell.

  • Kevin Dunne says:

    If a team comes in they,d know he,s out for 4 to6 wks with injuries it,s not always as clear as it seems ,I doubt he,LL be sold this window, still s chance Rodgers will get him to commit to new deal as well , should the player want to go fine but no less than £30 mil ,arsenal just paid 104 mil for rice and he ain,t any better than hatate on their days

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