IT took Reo Hatate five MONTHS to score two goals for Celtic from his midield berth.
And only 52 MINUTES to achieve the same feat after moving to right-back in the 4-1 triumph over St Johnstone at Parkhead yesterday.
The Japanese star answered an SOS from Ange Postecoglou to move into the No.2 slot after Anthony Ralston was forced to call off following his knock in the 2-1 win over Livingston in midweek.
THE VICTOR AND THE VANQUISHED…Reo Hatate celebrates his opening goal while St Johnstone keeper Remy Matthews is left helpless.
With Josip Juranovic unavailable after his heroics for Croatia in the World Cup Finals in Qatar and Canadian international Alistair Johnston sidelined until his £3.75million switch from CF Montreal can be rubberstamped on January 1 2023, Hatate took over a new role for the Hoops.
The 25-year-old versatile star had played in the position for J-League outfit Kawasaki Frontale, but this was a debut in the position for the champions.
Any worries about how he would settle into the role were dispelled when he joined the attack to rifle in the opening goal in the 14th minute and he repeated the feat seven minutes after the break to make it 4-1 against the struggling Saints.
AT THE DOUBLE…Reo Hatate takes the applause after No.2 with team-mates Aaron Mooy and Daizen Maeda about to join in. Remy Matthews sits it out again.
That brought a halt to the scoring – Hatate’s countryman Kyogo Furuhashi claimed the other two – and only a slight misjudgement with a shot later on that clipped the post prevented the fans’ favourite from a remarkable hat-trick.
Hatate went into yesterday’s match with two strikes to his name – coincidentally both against Motherwell. He netted the winner in the 2-1 league success at Parkhead on October 1 and another in the 4-1 League Cup triumph at Fir Park 18 days later.
At this rate, Ralston, Juranovic and Johnston will have a fight on their hands to get their old postion back!
Hatate’s double strike plus Kyogo’s pair are worth another look thanks to the good folk at Celtic Unique Angle. Enjoy!
🎄🎁 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘮𝘢𝘴 𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦
The perfect present from the Champions as our Japanese Bhoys seal the win in Paradise!
— Celtic TV (@CelticTV) December 24, 2022