CELTIC’S worst fears were confirmed with the admission from Brendan Rodgers that Reo Hatate will be OUT for the remainder of the year.
There was conjecture over the extent of the hamstring damage sustained by the influential midfielder after he pulled up inside a minute of the 2-2 Champions League Group E draw with Atletico Madrid at Parkhead last week.
Hatate was replaced in the seventh minute by on-loan Benfica playmaker Paulo Bernardo and there was no sign of the Japanese international in the scoreless stalemate against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday.
With questions intensifying over the player’s injury, CQN asked Celtic for some answers yesterday.
GAME OVER…Brendan Rodgers attempts to console emotional Reo Hatate as the midfielder is forced off in the Euro match against Atletico Madrid.
Rodgers moved to clear up the situation when he said: “Reo was in London today because we had to wait for the hamstring to clear up a bit before the scan.
“But it’s certainly going to be after Christmas before he’s back, which is really disappointing for him and for us.
“Sometimes the hamstrings can be naughty, so it’s just a shame for him. It wasn’t great news. It’s a stage-four level injury, which isn’t great.”
Japan play in the Asia Cup in January, but Hatate will now be struggling to be included in his nation’s squad.
Rodgers, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “Reo will be a big doubt for that.
“He had started to find that rhythm again, getting into the team, starting to perform and looking exactly what I want from him.
“To then break down is such a shame for him and us because he’s a very good player.”