'He only came out of university at 22 but will go back into sheds': Ange Postecoglou explains evolution of his new Celtic talisman

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hailed the evolution of his midfielder Reo Hatate – but said he “will go back into the sheds” after beating himself up over a slack pass that led to Callum McGregor’s red card in the 2-1 win over Motherwell.

Celtic's Ange Postecoglou applauds the fans during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell at Celtic Park, on October 01, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Ange Postecoglou applauds the fans during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell at Celtic Park, on October 01, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The 24-year-old fired home the winning goal from outside the penalty box after a corner-kick routine on an afternoon when Celtic struggled to kill off their visitors.

A bizarre own goal from Josip Juranovic cancelled out Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener and Celtic ended the match with ten men after McGregor hauled down Ross Tierney when through on goal following Hatate’s misplaced pass.

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Nevertheless, Postecoglou was impressed with his player’s efforts.

“He was good today,” said the manager. “He was unlucky first half with his strike as well [that hit the post].

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“Reo’s developing well, he’s a player who has still got a hell of a lot of potential.

“I try to explain to people his background, like a lot of Japanese players he only came out of university at 22. He’s only really been a professional footballer for three-odd years.

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“So, I kind of knew after the impact he had in his first year as a professional that if it was his base line he was going to improve.”

On the red-card incident, Postecoglou revealed: “He’s pretty hard on himself, he pushes himself, he wants to be better.

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“So, there’s a lot more to come.

“He’ll be disappointed with his pass late today which sort of created the red-card situation.

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“So, he’ll go back in the sheds and think of how he can better.

“But Reo’s got great potential and he was good today.”

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On the match itself, Postecoglou commented: “It should’ve been a lot more comfortable than it was.

“We started well and first half we created some really good opportunities.

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“But we had good chances, we usually are pretty good at putting away. We just lacked that clinical edge, we usually have it.

“It doesn’t reflect our dominance in the game.

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“We give them a goal which gives them some encouragement and then we had to work hard second half.”

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