Celtic star suffers fresh injury blow as midfielder forced off during Asian Cup last-16 clash
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Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate has suffered a fresh injury blow after being forced off during Japan's Asian Cup last-16 clash with Bahrain.
The 26-year-old had to be replaced by Hidemasa Morita on 36 minutes after pulling up with an injury in the middle of the park. Play was halted for several minutes as Hatate received treatment from the national team's medical staff before hobbling off the pitch.
The Hoops star, who was the only Celtic player named in the starting line-up by head coach Hajime Moriyasu, was seen holding his right calf as he lay on the ground. Japan Times reporter Dan Orlowitz wrote on X, formerly Twitter: "Hatate getting pulled after sitting down on the pitch... not quite clear what's happened, walking off under his own power but seems to be limping slightly."
The incident will leave Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and supporters facing an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the player's injury. A serious issue could force the Parkhead club into making a late move in the January transfer window for another midfield option.
David Turnbull - heavily linked with a Deadline Day move to EFL Championship side Cardiff City - has been utilised mainly as cover this season and he could now remain at Celtic until the summer if Hatate faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
It is not the first time this season that the former Kawasaki Frontale utility man has visited the treatment room after picking up an injury against Aberdeen at Pittodrie back in August shortly after coming on as a half-time sub.
He then pulled up with a severe hamstring problem against Atletico Madrid in a Champions League group stage clash in October, which ruled him out of action for two months.