REO HATATE has revealed his pain at being snubbed by Japan for the World Cup Finals.
The Celtic midfielder was overlooked along with team-mate Kyogo Furuhashi when the squad was announced for the soccer showpiece in Qatar which kicked off in November.
Hatate was so disappointed to miss out that he couldn’t even watch Hoops team-mate Daizen Maeda and his countrymen play in their three group matches.
ROARING SUCCESS…Reo Hatate shows he is over his World Cup heartache as he celebrates Greg Taylor’s opening goal in the 3-0 win over Livingston in midweek.
It’s clear the 25-year-old dynamo has overcome his anguish with his performances for the champions since domestic football resumed with the 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on December 17 when comeback captain Callum McGregor claimed the late points-clincher.
Hatate said: “I have now faced my feelings about the World Cup in Qatar.
“On the day that the Japanese squad was announced, I was still in Scotland and could not see it live.
“Prior to that, I thought I wouldn’t be selected because I did not get a chance to participate in the last game before the announcement.
“However, when the members were announced and my name wasn’t there, I didn’t think: ‘As expected’.
“It was frustrating and when I returned to Japan after Celtic gave me time off, I didn’t watch our group games live.
JOY BHOYS…Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate celebrate after another Celtic goal.
“I did that to rest my body, as I had been playing a lot since July last year.
“But now that I’ve sorted out my feelings, looking back, I think that the reason I was tired was only half of it.
“The other half was frustration and I couldn’t honestly watch the games.”
Hatate, speaking to the Scottish Sun, continued: “As time passed, I was able to sort out my feelings and I felt I had to watch Japan’s games.
“So, when I got back to Glasgow, I reviewed all of the three group stage games again. Then I watched the Japan-Croatia match in the round of 16 live.
“There were many things I felt and learned from the Japan matches and I am using them now.”
THERE’S ONLY TWO REO HATATES…the stand-in right-back celebrates his second goal in the 4-1 win over St Johnstone on Christmas Eve – with his image on the trackside hoarding looking on.
Hatate added: “When Daizen left for Qatar, I said good luck to him.
“I am close to him and have seen his hard work at Celtic and how he has left his mark on the Japan team.”
Hatate and Maeda were involved in the champions’ 3-0 win over Livingston in midweek as the title kings maintained their nine-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle.
The hard-working middle-of-the-park operator set up Greg Taylor for the barrier-breaking strike in the 29th minute while the pacy raider claimed the second when a clearance hit him in the face and ricocheted into the net.
Kyogo, of course, supplied the killer touch when he knocked in the final goal which was also his 21st strike of a prolific season.
All three of Ange Postecoglou’s imports from the J-League are likely to play their part when the Hoops take on St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday in the midday kick-off.