'Real boost of energy': Reo Hatate and crowd spurred Celtic to Old Firm win, says captain Callum McGregor

Celtic captain Callum McGregor hailed man-of-the-match Reo Hatate and the Celtic support after leading his side to the top of the cinch Premiership with a 3-0 demolition of Rangers.

Reo Hatate celebrates his Old Firm double (Picture: John Devlin)
Reo Hatate celebrates his Old Firm double (Picture: John Devlin)

Two quick-fire goals from Hatate and Liel Abada rounded off a breathless, intense first half which ignited with the Japanese midfielder’s fifth minute opener.

McGregor played the 90 minutes in a protective mask after a facial injury last month but praised his midfield colleague and the packed stands for roaring the team to a resounding victory.

"I thought the crowd was unbelievable and gave us a real boost of energy and the players responded to that. The football in the first half was first class.

Matt O'Riley celebrates after with goalscorer Liel Abada who makes it 3-0 Celtic. (Picture: John Devlin)

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“The manager demands we play fast, attacking football and he’s been on us to take our chances. We knew if we got our chances we’d have to be ruthless and put them away and that’s exactly what we did. It’s brilliant for the boys.

He added: "[Hatate] has been first-class with a similar impact to Kyogo. He’s come in, scored goals, looked hungry and technically very, very good within the system the gaffer plays. He really flourishes in there and it’s up to us to keep him going, keep him working, getting him fitter and match sharper.

"It’s a great return for him in his first Old Firm game,” he told Sky Sports.

While Celtic lapped up the jubilant scenes at full-time McGregor insisted the team would stay grounded despite moving top for the first time this season.

Advertisement

Hide Ad
Reo Hatate scores the opening two goals for Celtic in the home side's 3-0 win over Rangers. (Picture: John Devlin)

"We’ll stay calm. We have done a lot of hard work since the start of the season with a lot of new players and guys experiencing this for the first time.

"It’s brilliant for them to experience a home win and see exactly what the atmosphere is like but we know there is a lot of football to be played – one thing is for sure, we won’t get carried away.”

Boss Ange Postecoglou added: “I'm really proud. I thought our first 45 was just outstanding.“It was a big game. We knew the consequences, we knew what it meant to the supporters and the players stood up.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

"We scored three great goals but our football was pretty special, and to be fair, their keeper has pulled off some great saves.”

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.