Speaking in his latest press conference ahead of tomorrow’s showdown, Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou revealed that Reo Hatate has had a full week of training and will be available for selection against the Jam Tarts.
The midfielder picked up a knock during Celtic’s 2-0 opening weekend win over Aberdeen which led to him missing last weekend’s 5-0 win over Kilmarnock and the preceding 3-1 victory against Ross County.
The Bhoys signed the Japan international from Kawasaki Frontale in Jauary. Since then, the 24-year-old has gone on to make 22 appearances for the Parkhead club, scoring four goals and providing three assists along the way.
This highlights the attacking and creative talent he can offer the team from the midfield area of the pitch.
After arriving in Glasgow, the player went on to start 15 of the 17 league games in which he appeared last season, which shows just how high the manager rates and values him.
His 66 minutes on the pitch against Aberdeen proved how useful he is for the Bhoys in terms of being an attacking threat, as only Matt O’Riley (six) made more key passes in the game than Hatate (three).
Bearing in mind how only Celtic (27) have had more shots on target in the league this season than Hearts (22), tomorrow’s clash could be a rather tough test for the Hoops and potentially disrupt their campaign.
Therefore, having a player like Hatate in the team to help unlock the visitors’ defence with his ability to make key passes could give Postecoglou’s side the edge in being able to continue their winning start to the season and pounce upon Rangers’ dropped points on Saturday.
With that in mind, it will surely leave the Celtic manager thrilled that the January recruit will be available for selection again.
With Hatate ready to get back into action for his team, Postecoglou will have a big decision to make as who whether he decides to put the Japan international back in the starting XI or sticks with the midfield trio of O’Riley, Callum McGregor and David Turnbull which helped to secure last weekend’s convincing 5-0 win.