REO HATATE is poised to make his return from injury against Dundee at Parkhead on Saturday as the champions continue their quest for Premiership points.

The influential Japanese midfielder has been missing since a 25-minute second-half cameo in the 3-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie exactly a month ago.

Hatate suffered a muscular injury that kept him out of the disappointing Viaplay League Cup exit at Kilmarnock and the 1-0 triumph at Ibrox, but is ready to get the green light to return to action against the Dens Park outfit.

A delighted Brendan Rodgers admitted: “Reo’s back training with the squad, which is great news.

LOOKING AHEAD…Brendan Rodgers gives his views during his exclusive Celtic TV interview.

“His energy’s been really good, he’s worked really hard since he picked up that injury at Aberdeen. So, I’m really pleased that he’s back.

“Nat Phillips is also training with the squad, so, hopefully, he’ll be available for the weekend. Cameron Carter-Vickers will probably be more early October before he’s back, but he’s out on the grass and working well.

“Marco Tilio is back in with the squad and training, although it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get up to speed, but the squad’s looking healthier and as we go forward hopefully the return of more of these players will be really good for us.”

The Hoops have taken 10 points out of a possible 12 from their opening four league games – the stumble coming in the scoreless stalemate against St Johnstone in the east end of Glasgow.

The misfire against the Perth outfit was hardly ideal preparation before the first derby of the campaign a week later at a partisan Ibrox with no travelling supporters allowed in the stadium.

However, a sensational volley from Kyogo Furuhashi won the day for the Hoops and Rodgers, speaking exclusively to Celtic TV, continued: “Psychologically, it was a great victory for us, firstly for the players.

SMASH-HIT…Kyogo Furuhashi prepares to lash in the winner at Ibrox on September 3.

“They’re understanding and getting to know me because most of them have not worked with me before, so when you get a big game like that then, psychologically, that helps.

“They won’t play in too many more stadiums where the atmosphere will be like that for them, but we showed we could cope.

“In the first-half, we kept the ball really well, we looked dangerous when we had it and had a couple of opportunities to score.

“Then, what happens when you’re away from home, you’re under pressure and they showed they could stand up to that and keep a clean sheet.”

The champions’ gaffer added: “Going forward, I don’t think that we’ll be in a position like that again where we’ll have so many injuries.

“But the guys who performed on the day, and the squad, did absolutely brilliant.

“So, I was really pleased with many aspects and also knowing that, going forward, we will become better and better as the season grows.”

*Celtic TV subscribers can watch the full and exclusive interview with Brendan Rodgers.

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