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Reo Hatate hoping Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic will help bring out best in him

Ange Postecoglou File Photo
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

New Celtic signing Reo Hatate is excited at the prospect of fitting into Ange Postecoglou’s attacking system.

Hatate took part in his first training session at Lennoxtown on Friday after arriving on a four-and-a-half-year contract from J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale.

The 24-year-old is one of three January arrivals to have joined fellow Japanese Kyogo Furuhashi at Celtic Park.

The other two, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi, were also in action as former Yokohama Marinos manager Postecoglou and his squad returned from their winter break.

Hatate said on the Celtic website: “As a Japanese, it’s really exciting to see a manager who has experience in Japan and in the international stage.

“In Japan, I have always played against his teams but I’ve always observed and thought his way of playing is very strategical and attacking, so it’s extremely fun for the audience.”

Hatate has been earmarked for an attacking midfield role by Postecoglou but he can also play out wide and at left-back.

“Being able to play in different positions has given me confidence as a footballer,” he said. “With this team, I want to be able to bring out the best in my style of play and contribute to the attacking side of things a bit more.”

Postecoglou was keen to get his transfer business done early and is not anticipating any more major incomings, although on Saturday evening Celtic announced the signing of 18-year-old striker Johnny Kenny from Sligo Rovers on a five-year deal.

Kenny netted 12 goals in his debut season as a professional, including one in the Europa League.

Postecoglou, who has loaned Liam Shaw to Motherwell and offloaded Ewan Henderson to Hibernian, said about the rest of the window on Celtic TV: “Not too busy but we have got to stay agile through this period. We could have a couple of players out on loan, which is important.

“We will look at the squad through the whole January window and make sure what we need, if it’s available, we will bring in.

“I don’t expect it to be too hectic but we will stay alert and make sure, if the right thing comes along both in terms of incomings and outgoings, we will be able to move.”

Christopher Jullien was on the training field with his team-mates and Postecoglou hopes to get him back on the pitch soon after more than a year out with a knee injury.

“Chris has worked awfully hard,” Postecoglou said. “It’s always difficult those long-term ones because there is no pre-determined end date.

“But he is training and training well and the next couple of weeks we will get him involved in playing some football and see where he’s at and hopefully he hits the ground running and helps us on our course.”

The likes of James Forrest and Karamoko Dembele were also training after being among a lengthy list of absentees.

Postecoglou, whose side return to action against Hibernian on January 17, said: “We expect the majority to be up and running and available when the season restarts, which will be great because hopefully we will have the depth now to be able to cope with a busy period.”

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