It would not be a stretch to say that Reo Hatate had one of the greatest Glasgow Derby debuts of all-time as he scored two wonderful goals and set up a third to guide Celtic to a 3-0 victory over the Rangers, their first in years. And in his first few appearances for the club, it is safe to say that the Japanese star was absolutely incredible and it looked like Ange Postecoglou had pulled off another transfer masterstroke.
Since then though, Hatate has had his struggles and is going through some bad form at the moment to be very honest.
The unquestionable quality on and off the ball, that he had showed in those early displays for Celtic, appears to be missing right now.
Thus, it is not a surprise that the player has received a fair bit of criticism from fans lately. But at the same time, it is important to remember that he has only been playing football in Europe for a few months now.
Postecoglou responds to criticism of Hatate’s recent performances for Celtic
“I get how people measure these things and I get how supporters and others will look at it. For me, what’s more important is that it takes time for players to understand how we want to play. It takes players time for players to adjust to a new environment.
“He started off really well with the output he had in terms of the beginnings of his career here. But we didn’t buy him for the first 2 months of his career. He’s still a young guy, he’s still got a lot of development. He’s still got a lot of improvement to do. But he’s learning the right way.
“He’s out there battling, he’s making his mistakes and dusting himself off and getting back up. For all of our guys, even Matt O’Riley and Daizen – those guys didn’t come in for the last few months of the season, they’re here for the long-term and we’ll keep working with them.”
To be honest, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that Hatate has had his fair share of struggles in recent weeks.
In fact, it was probably his form early on that raised the expectations to an incredibly high level, which he has not been able to meet in recent games.
It is important to remember as well that just like Daizen Maeda, he is also playing right now after having completed an entire season in Japan. On top of that, this is a completely new experience for him, having never played in Europe in the past.
So, one must give the likes of Hatate, Maeda and Ideguchi some time to adjust to their new surroundings. We might see the best of them from next season.
This article was originally posted here