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Celtic: Reo Hatate was “so enjoyable to watch” vs Kilmarnock

Scottish champions Celtic opened up a 12-point lead at the summit with victory over Kilmarnock at Parkhead on Saturday, with Ange Postecoglou’s side getting back to winning ways following the recent derby stalemate.

That Old Firm thriller had seen the Hoops snatch a point late on despite having not been at their free-flowing best, although it proved a far more comfortable outing this time around for the league leaders, having seen off Derek McInnes’ side with relative ease.

Despite a rather commanding display, it had taken until just before half-time for the hosts to finally make the breakthrough, with Portuguese star Jota netting for the first time in the league since October following Daizen Maeda’s clever pullback.

That lead was then extended just after the break as Killie’s Ash Taylor turned into his own net under pressure from the ever-lively Kyogo Furuhashi, following a fine, driven cross from Reo Hatate.

The latter man had proven particularly influential in that eventual 2-0 triumph, with the Japanese international once again rubber-stamping his importance to the side at the heart of the midfield three.

Despite proving his worth as a makeshift right-back option in recent weeks prior to the clash with the Gers – having produced a “masterclass” in that role against Hibernian in the words of journalist John McGinley – the diminutive ace showcased yesterday just why he is so vital in Postecoglou’s midfield machine.

The 25-year-old was simply “so enjoyable to watch” on the day, according to McGinley, having showcased his creative flair after registering four key passes in total from his 83 touches, with that the most of any player for either side.

The one-cap machine did lose possession on 18 occasions although that was merely a marker of his desire to make things happen in the final third, having also offered a real bonus defensively after winning three of his six ground duels and winning two fouls for his side.

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That standout performance – which earned the 5 foot 8 ace a 7.6 match rating, as per Sofascore – was notably lauded by Glasgow Live’s Matthew Fulton, who awarded the relentless gem a 9/10 match rating, while also praising what had been an ‘all-round, effortless showing’.

Such a remarkable display has only further showcased just what a coup it was to be able to bring Hatate to Celtic Park just over a year ago.