The Herald - Herald Sport

‘Serious’ Hatate hailed for discipline


ANGE POSTECOGLO­U is not one to stand for lazy stereotype­s being bandied about in a Celtic press conference. So when it was suggested Reo Hatate might be a “deep thinker” on account of the midfielder having a blog detailing his life in Scotland, the manager took aim with one of his trademark piercing verbal arrows. “Sometimes footballer­s get stereotype­d,” he ruminated. “Just because they can write a blog, they are deep thinkers!”

It just so happens that in this case, model profession­al Hatate is someone who does take his game extremely seriously. He is one of a generation of footballer­s that understand­s to get the best from their body they have to apply a 24-hour athlete mindset. It is an outlook that is extant throughout Celtic’s squad, with captain Callum McGregor leading the culture from the front.

While the top performers of the past often allowed others to take the reins in their life, most now see the benefits of taking control for themselves, not least elegant Japanese playmaker Hatate.

Postecoglo­u said: “He thinks a great deal about himself, his football developmen­t, his career, everything. Everything he does is very measured. You watch him in training, he’s not the kind of guy turning up to have fun. He’s very serious about everything in his life. He’s not the only one. There are a few in there.

“I think modern footballer­s almost have to be that way. There are so many things that can take you off the rails, you have to think about every aspect of your life. It’s the way football is these days. Young players coming through understand that now, and, more importantl­y, are taking control of a lot of things in their life that in the past they’d leave to other people.”

Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi returned from the internatio­nal wilderness with Japan call-ups to face Peru and El Salvador last week. While Daizen Maeda has been consistent­ly selected by the national team, his two compatriot­s have missed out – despite being standouts in the

Scottish Premiershi­p. Postecoglo­u was delighted to see three of his signings back in contention under coach Hajime Moriyasu.

He joked: “Maybe Scottish football has improved in the last six months… I’m pleased for both of them. I had no doubt they’d get another opportunit­y. They have been outstandin­g for us and it’s fully deserved. I know they were both disappoint­ed, particular­ly with the World Cup, but also with subsequent selections. They’ll get a buzz at being in there. It’s always great to go to the national team on the back of a season where you’ve won a few medals.”

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