Reo Hatate confesses to feeling physically and mentally fatigued as Celtic’s utility man aims to help clinch Premiership title

The 24-year-old has crammed in a lot of games since his arrival in January from Kawasaki Frontale

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Reo Hatate has revealed he is feeling physically and mentally fatigued as he attempts to help Celtic clinch the Scottish Premiership title.

The Japanese midfielder joined the Hoops in January on the back of a marathon J-League season at Kawasaki Frontale.

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The 24-year-old has been a near ever-present in Ange Postecoglou’s side since his arrival, playing 17 games in the space of three months.

That gruelling fixture schedule appears to have taken its toll on Hatate as he confessed to feeling drained on his return from international duty last month.

Just days after making his senior national team debut against Vietnam, Hatate flew back to Scotland and found himself thrown straight back into domestic action.

He admitted to experiencing double vision before helping his team-mates secure a 2-1 Old Firm win over Rangers at Ibrox.

Hatate said: “Since my debut against Hibernian I’ve felt the intensity of the European game and played a number of games.

“The fact that I’ve kept getting appearances shows that the team trusts in me and that’s given me a lot of confidence.

“But for what feels like the first time, I’m definitely feeling emotional and physical fatigue.

“It’s been three months since I arrived in Glasgow and getting used to a new environment on and off the pitch has been trial and error.

Celtic's Reo Hatate misses a first half chance during a Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park, on April 17, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“In Japan there were ways I could refresh myself and take a mental break but that’s difficult when you’re playing so frequently.

“There are times when I can’t make a run on goal, or hold back on the attack to preserve the team’s balance, and I have to recognise my fatigue.

“For the national team I had to go to Australia, then Japan, and back to Scotland. It was my first call-up as an overseas player and I was confronted with the difficulty of maintaining your condition while travelling and then immediately having to get results for your team.

“When you’re away from your team on national team duty there’s a chance you can lose your position.

“My first day back at Celtic there was a moment that I saw two balls and was clearly jet lagged, but in Europe you need to be tough enough to stay fit and fight for your position.

“I definitely feel tired but I want to keep doing whatever I can to help the team win the league. I think I’ll become tougher and stronger as a result.”

During the clash at Ibrox, which saw Celtic open a six point gap over their biggest rivals, Hatate played his part in the build up to Tom Rogic’s equaliser.

Reo Hatate picks up a knock during a Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The utility man is delighted with the impact he and compatriot Daizen Maeda have made during their short time in Glasgow.

He added: “To start against Rangers gave me a lot of confidence. It was huge to be able to help create the equaliser.

“On the match sheet I didn’t score a goal or record an assist, but it was huge that I was able to leave my mark on the team’s victory.

“Daizen talked about how even though the team has been building on what it’s been doing. Those of us who joined mid-season have added our own strength and helped push us into first place.”