REO HATATE has seen exactly 78 minutes of competitive action for Celtic this season.

The influential Japanese midfielder, who has been stalling on signing a contract extension, made his comeback from injury with a 30-minute appearance as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 win over Dundee at Parkhead yesterday.

Hatate has yet to start a game and played 23 minutes in the 4-2 Premiership opening-day victory over Ross County and 25 minutes in the 3-1 success over Aberdeen the following week.

IN THE RUNNING…Reo Hatate is aiming for a place against Feyenoord.

On all three occasions, he has replaced David Turnbull who has been given the nod by Brendan Rodgers as first pick so far and the Scottish international has responded with three goals, two from the penalty spot including the breakthrough effort in the victory over the Tayside outfit.

Hatate sparked injury fears at Pittodrie when he lasted until the 70th minute before limping off with the substitute being replaced by new Bhoy Odin Holm.

However, the 25-year-old playmaker came through unscathed against the Dens Parkers and was welcomed back by Rodgers who told Celtic TV: “He is an outstanding player and brings us a dynamic in the team that the other midfielders don’t have.

“We gave him 30 minutes to see how he recovers from that and we can see for Tuesday. Once he gets in flow he’s a very good player for us.”

SPOT ON…David Turnbull drills in the penalty-kick opener against Dundee with Trevor Carson helpless.

Now the Hoops boss faces a dilemma before the Champions League Group E campaign gets underway against Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday evening: Does he continue with Hatate? Or does he start with Turnbull for a sixth time this season?

Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley are certainties to be in place at kick-off against the Dutch title winners and unless the Irishman alters the structure of his midfield that will lead to an intriguing straight choice between the Japanese and Scottish internationals.

All will be revealed around 6.30pm on Tuesday!


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