Hatate and McGregor the two best midfielders in Scotland, says Sutton

Chris Sutton has described Celtic captain Callum McGregor and Japan international Reo Hatate as the best two midfielders in Scotland. The pundit reckons that Hatate’s return to the side following a horrendous series of injury woes this campaign can make the difference in the title race. And Sutton is now eyeing ten Celtic victories that can deliver a league and Scottish Cup double.

Pulling the strings

Writing in his weekend column in Daily Record the former Celtic striker believes that his old club were at their best for a short period in October. That’s when Hatate was pulling the strings in the middle of the park.

“Hatate and Callum McGregor are the two best midfielders in Scotland. If Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers can have them both back fit and firing for the run-in, it’ll be a monumental boost for the defending champions at a perfect time. Let’s face it, Hatate has endured a horrendous season. He was my Player of the Year last term with his fabulous talent and ability to make things happen with his excellence,” Sutton noted.

(front row from L to R) #03 Greg Taylor, #42 Callum McGregor, #08 Kyogo Furuhashi, #41 Reo Hatate,  #02 Alistair Johnston (back row from L to R)  #38 Daizen Maeda, #01 Joe Hart, #20 Cameron Carter-Vickers,  #05 Liam Scales,  #07 Luis Palma and #33 Matthew O’Riley pose for team photo prior to the UEFA Champions League  match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Back to full speed

Hatate has suffered THREE injuries this season – against Aberdeen at start of the season, in the opening minutes of the Champions League match against Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park in October and then at the Asian Cup with Japan at the start of 2024. When Reo was able to play, Sutton reckons Celtic were at their most impressive.

“I stand by the fact that Celtic played their best stuff of the season during the little run in October when Hatate got back to full speed.”

With both Hatate and McGregor currently sidelined, it has been left to Matt O’Riley to hold the fort. But with that talented trio all fit and able to play their part, Sutton’s confidence is high as he eyes a domestic double for Celtic.

“Potentially, if Celtic can get through the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen, there are 10 games left in their season.

Reo Hatate celebrates with Callum McGregor after scoring his team’s second goal during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and theRangers on February 02, 2022 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Stars who can make it happen

“Every single one of them promises to be massive and it is going to take big game players. Having them all his disposal through until the end of May would be perfect timing for him. The equation is pretty simple for Celtic. Win all 10 of those remaining games starting at Livingston next weekend and the Premiership and Scottish Cup double is theirs.

“It’s a big period and it calls for stars who can make it happen. Hatate and McGregor are two who can shine more than any in the country,” Sutton argued.

Tags Callum McGregor Celtic news Celtic Shorts Chris Sutton Reo Hatate

1 Comment

  1. Wouldn’t disagree, and could throw matt Oreily into the equation also.
    However just how match fit calmac and Hatate will be for the trip to the shithole still remains an unanswered question at this stage?
    Hardly helps matters with a trip to livi beforehand, upon a surface with massive risks involved, especially with players returning from injuries?
    Personally wouldn’t say it is worth the risk of potentially starting CCV, calmac or Hatate at livi myself, but still a big game where nothing but a victory will do, so challenges in team selection for that match alone?
    Course we would like all to be used at some stage to improve there match sharpness and fitness, so the ideal option would be to win the match early and introduce calmac and Hatate gently into a match already won?
    Not like ourselves to take the easier and better options for ourselves this season, so very much a case of wait and see what unfolds before the scum match?

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