Reo Hatate: His Harry Potter dream and why there will be no Celtic excuses
The Celtic support’s fervent hope is that Reo Hatate’s title spell won’t be broken in the Japanese midfielder’s new home.
Meanwhile, a wizard has been on the mind of the 24-year-old as he ponders the experiences on offer to him in Scotland. Through pursuing his university studies, it wasn’t until two years ago that Hatate began to enchant at senior level with Kawasaki Frontale. A club that have since worked their charms with back-to-back J-League successes. Bagging another with Ange Postecoglou’s side is the objective in the first half of 2022. But the player, signed in Celtic’s triple January transfer raid on homeland alongside striker Daizen Maeda and midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi, wants the coming months to bring trips to the locations immortalised in the celluloid outings of sorcerer Harry Potter.
“I have heard that in Scotland there are places and areas where the movies of Harry Potter were filmed,” Hatate said of the JK Rowling literary creation. “I would like to go and see them and to visit these places where that filming was done. I know about the train and the bridge. I have seen all of the films and I like them. That would be good to see those things.” If his title run can be sustained, it was put to Hatate there could be locations in Scotland where he could possibly find his exploits appearing on a DVD stand alongside the Potter films. A thought that seemed to appeal greatly to him. “Yes, that would be good!” he said.
The eyes set to be on the attacker as he makes his debut when the cinch Premiership resumes for Celtic next Monday following the winter break might be modest compared to those that widen over the Potter fantasies. But the end of covid restrictions in time for the hosting of Hibs that will allow a 60,000 capacity-crowd to be in attendance is motivation for Hatate to provide them an evening to be thrilled by his bewitching.
“It is very exciting to think about the fact we will be playing at the stadium next Monday,” Hatate said. “I want to show my football in front of the Celtic supporters so that they can remember what I have done. I am very excited to be here and training and working with the other players. I have had quite a short break since the end of the last season [in Japan, in November], but that doesn’t matter to me. In one week, we have a game at Celtic and there will be no excuses from me. I will prepare myself and be 100 per cent ready.”
The new Japanese acquisitions have the toughest act to follow – Kyogo Furuhashi making a mesmerising impact since his £4.6million move from Vissel Kobe in July. Hatate is his own man, though. “I was aware of it and I was enjoying what was happening with him,” he said. “But, for me, that was a thing that was involving another player. I am me and I have to try and concentrate on what I can do when I am here. What I want to do here is to keep doing what I have been in the past few years.”
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