Huge Hatate Development As Key Players Nears A Celtic Return

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After a more difficult season for manager Brendan Rodgers in his second spell at Parkhead, having let our lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table slip, Celtic have started to get themselves back on track and following the weekend’s 3-1 victory over St Johnstone, we are again back in top spot and we will definitely remain there during the period of the March international break before domestic football returns.

Whilst fans can still certainly pick on areas of our play that could still show significant further improvement, the slight mental advantage is now back with us and we will be clearly doing everything we can to make that pay off in our favour.

With such a massive injury crisis to very key players in the first team set up, some may joke that even our football corners betting strategy had picked up a knock this year, but losing players has undoubtedly held us back at points, but this week there has been another piece of good news on that front, as roughly on plan for his recovery, Reo Hatate is stepping up his rehabilitation work, and he will be hoping to very quickly build on his 13 appearances in the 2023/24 campaign in the final weeks of the season.

The eight capped Japanese international midfielder has obviously been a massive loss for us this year with the games that he has missed through being sat on the side lines, and although he will need a couple of games to get fully back up to speed, his return will be a massive boost for the whole squad.

It has now been confirmed that Celtic have arranged a friendly at Rodgers’ request for during the international break, and it will give the 26 year old a valuable opportunity to return to the pitch and make further progress in the hopes of seeing him come into some kind of contention for the Premiership restart against Livingston a week on Sunday.

With Rodgers saying he was ‘progressing well’ now that he had returned to training, hopefully that will continue with this game as he bids to make a proper return and hopefully put his troublesome hamstring problem fully in the rear view mirror, and the more recent calf injury that was a further set back.

Whilst everyone hopes that Hatate will quickly find his full fitness and return to the kind of form levels that we saw from him last season, he will undoubtedly need time given how lengthy his spell on the side lines has actually been, and there will certainly be those in the fan base who echo the concerns of Peter Grant, as he thinks it is very doubtful that Hatate will make a meaningful impact in the final games of the year given his largely complete lack of game time.

Rodgers naturally believes the 26 year old will prove to be ‘huge’ for us, and whilst it may simply be a further mental boost for his team mates, even if he is not at his fully dynamic best with his fitness and sharpness levels, he will still be more than capable of coming up with a moment of magic or two and having that kind of impact, even if it is not at his previous levels of regularity and consistency.

If we can get even a few moments out of Hatate during the run in, keep Cameron Carter-Vickers fit following his own return, and then get back skipper Callum McGregor sooner rather than later – things will look a hell of a lot brighter.

Then we just see how future results fall.

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