ANGE POSTECOGLOU has ordered Reo Hatate to be fearless as he settles into the frantic pace of Scottish football.
The Japanese midfielder, who was part of the J-League trio who arrived on Hogmanay, hit the ground running with the Man of the Match honour following his debut in the 2-0 win over Hibs in the east end of Glasgow when the domestic restarted on January 17.
Daizen Maeda, who signed with Hatate along with midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi, scored with one of his first touches of the ball and it was Hatate’s turn to take the scoring spot light with a superb double in the team’s 3-0 home victory over Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side the following month.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou congratulates Reo Hatate after his goal against Hearts at Tynecastle.
The hard-working former Kawasaki Frontale star is in line to pick up his first international cap in his country’s World Cup qualifier against Vietnam tomorrow morning UK time.
And then Hatate will switch his full attention to his second confrontation with the Govan team across Glasgow in Sunday’s midday encounter.
The 24-year-old opened up to the Japanese media while on duty with his nation and admitted: “At first, I felt that I was able to join in a very good way with results, but it was not so easy.
“In the meantime, there were various difficulties in terms of conditions and so on.
“I think it’s been two months with both good and bad things.
HANDS UP IF YOU’RE A WINNER…Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate after the 3-0 derby triumph.
“Under my current coach, I’m really told to find a space, or to find a position where I can be free. I am very conscious of it.
“In the first place, the environment is different from Japan and the pitch conditions and climate are different, so it took a lot of time to get used to it.”
Hatate added: “The manager tells me to play in such a part without fear of mistakes and it took me a long time to get used to the environment.
“I think that support was great, so thanks to the team. I don’t know, but I think I’m getting used to it gradually.”
That’s got to be good news for Celtic – and bad for opponents with Hatate already making a massive impact since catching up with trailbalzer and fans’ favourite Kyogo Furuhashi in Glasgow.