Reo Hatate can walk in Lubomir Moravcik’s footsteps at Ibrox

Lubomir Moravcik knows what it’s like to go to Ibrox and put on a show and that’s exactly what Celtic’s Gift from God is anticipating this weekend from a Celtic midfield trio of Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and the Celtic captain Callum McGregor.

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)

Dream team

If you were selecting a midfield three from the Scottish Premiership it’s hard to imagine any other player dislodging those three from a fair and reasonable dream team. And if all three are playing on Sunday then Lubo can see them making all the Celtic support’s dream come true.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic scores the winning goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic at Ibrox on September 03, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Lubo praises Reo 

“Reo Hatate is an excellent footballer and alongside Kyogo Furuhashi they have both played consistently well and have been massive parts of Celtic’s success story over the past two years,” Lubo told The Herald.*

“Hatate made an impressive comeback and he looked very good. This match will be Hatate’s biggest test since returning from injury which is why Sunday is very important for Celtic.

Dearly love to see him

“I know there are also some doubts over the fitness of Callum McGregor but I would dearly love to see him feature in Celtic’s starting 11 against Rangers. I want to see the likes of McGregor, Hatate and Matt O’Riley all take their place in the Celtic midfield at Ibrox.

Shot in the arm

“What a shot in the arm that would give everybody connected with the club. It is vitally important for Celtic to have their key players back fit, strong and ready to take on (the)Rangers this weekend.”

Brendan Rodgers and his staff have been working towards this game for some time now. Witness the decision making around the international break where for instance Liam Scales was held back from travelling to represent Ireland.

Strongest Celtic side

And with the injury list clearing up in time to for perhaps the first time this season, being in a position to name his strongest possible Celtic side, then the Celtic manager has the best chance of maintaining his outstanding record against theRangers on their own patch.

Lubo’s highlight playing at Ibrox was that fabulous double he scored in a memorable 3-0 win on 29 April 2001, with Henrik Larsson scoring the other goal, his 50th of the season.

King of Kings 50 Goals in one season

“We’re playing really well and that’s giving me the chance to play well too,” Henrik Larsson told BBC Scotland after the victory. “It wasn’t easy, but in the second half we started playing a little more optimistically and we moved forward to open the game up a bit.”

Celtic’s Lubo Moravcik celebrates his first goal, Sunday 29th April 2001  Scottish Premier League match against Rangers at Ibrox PA Photo: Tom Finnie

“Lubo’s first was really good, but the second was different class,” admitted Larsson. “I would love him to continue for another five years at least.”

Caution to the wind

Celtic manager Martin O’Neill said: “I thought we were powerful second half. They had one good chance in the first half which they spurned and it was just a case of us having the courage to go for the win,” said the Celtic manager said.

“The first goal is obviously vital and we got it. After that, Rangers threw caution to the wind and left some gaps at the back which we were able to exploit.”

Wonderful ability to turn games

O’Neill paid tribute to his Swedish goal machine, but he saved a special mention for the inspirational Moravcik. “He’s had a fantastic season for us and he has that wonderful ability to turn games,” Martin O’Neill said.

A masterclass from Hatate to match Lubo’s finest moments at Ibrox would certainly make for a Beautiful Sunday for the Celtic support who will all be watching from afar.

* The Herald, Wednesday 3 April, print edition.

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Tags Callum McGregor Celtic Shorts Henrik Larsson Lubomir Moravcik Martin O'Neill Matt O'Riley Rangers 0 Celtic 3 Reo Hatate
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