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Hatate determined to improve and add to impressive start at Celtic

The midfielder says his goal against Hearts is the best he has scored.

Hatate determined to improve and add to impressive start at Celtic SNS Group

Reo Hatate says he still has plenty of work to do to improve after making an eye-catching start to life at Celtic.

The Japanese midfielder, who signed early in the transfer window, had an impressive debut in Celtic’s win against Hibs last week and he scored a powerful, long-range goal to set his team on the road to victory against Hearts as part of another all-action showing.

Despite his limited game time, the 24-year-old has already become a hit with Celtic supporters and looks to be a valuable asset for manager Ange Postecoglou.

Speaking after Celtic’s 2-1 win over Hearts, he said that he was still settling into life in Scotland and joked that the matchday experience was a huge difference to what he was used to.

“Every game I have enjoyed a lot,” he said. “The environment of the stadium is very hot and I was sometimes really scared by it.

“In terms of the goal, I’m very happy to score in my second game and I’m relieved.”

With Celtic missing players through injury and international call-ups, Hatate’s second match was in an unfamiliar midfield and he was playing alongside Matt O’Riley, who only joined the club a few days previously.

“With Matt we haven’t had enough time to train and we have to learn each other during the game but I think I could play very well with him and he also tried to utilise me efficiently,” he said.

Though he has looked to have settled into Scottish football well already, the former Kawasaki Frontale player said that he had seen contrasts with the J-League. He believes he can get better and thinks that once his communication improves, and he adjusts to the physicality of the league, he can go from strength to strength.

“[The leagues] are different,” he said. “I consider that I am also a physical player but still I have to improve to compete with this league.

“This is why I have to work harder in training and improve.

“In terms of communication there are a lot of things to do but still, on the pitch I can express myself through football so I’m okay.”