Livingston 0 Celtic 3: Reo Hatate shines on return as Celtic cruise to win

Celtic-middenvelder Reo Hatate was indrukwekkend toen hij terugkeerde voor Celtic bij Livingston.  <i>(Image: Agency)</i>” bad-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ a86932720a143c26″ src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/ 2720a143c26″/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate was impressive on his return to Celtic at Livingston. (Image: Agency)

Celtic warmed up in style for their trip against Rangers at Ibrox this Sunday when Livingston was swept aside by a second-half goal in West Lothian.

The hosts proved to be a tough defense early on, but Celtic eventually broke their resistance through a Jamie Brandon own goal, and further strikes from substitute Paulo Bernardo and Matt O’Riley provided their huge traveling support during the Easter Sunday celebrations they came for .

Here are the talking points from Almondvale as Celtic returned to the top of the Premier League, with their fans loudly shouting ‘Bring on the Rangers’ at full-time…

REO HATATE impresses on his return

The Japanese midfielder made his long-awaited return to action for Celtic, his first appearance since early January after suffering his calf injury during the Asian Cup, and it was immediately clear what he brings to the party.

The Celtic fans chanted his name loudly from the start and he was straight into the action. He picked up the ball from the backline and passed it on quickly, creating a midfield dynamism that Brendan Rodgers’ side have sorely lacked at times this season. in his absence.

Some of his penetrating passages were a joy to watch, noting the runs of Alistair Johnston and Nicolas Kuhn at right back and Daizen Maeda on the left.

The end product from those areas didn’t always live up to what was on offer, but Hatate almost made sure of that himself as a frustrating first half for the visitors dragged on, curling a right-foot effort just beyond the edge of the area.

However, it was no surprise that he played a central role as Celtic finally broke the deadlock shortly after the break. His shot was saved by Livi keeper Shamal George and somehow rebounded into the home net off the hapless Brandon.

Hatate’s performance was a real boost for Celtic ahead of the potentially crucial Old Firm match against Rangers next weekend, especially with captain Callum McGregor also set to make it to the match at Ibrox on Sunday.

When Hatate was withdrawn to be replaced by Bernardo on the hour mark, the Celtic crowd rose to their feet around three-quarters of the stadium to cheer his performance. The difference these players make to this Celtic side, as Hatate showed here, is enormous.


Despite Celtic creating one or two openings in the first half, and feeling that they might have conceded a penalty – more on that later – Livi’s defense had managed to frustrate the champions for the most part, restricting them to mainly speculative efforts from outside the area.

The only real exception came when Kyogo Furuhashi managed to get Ayo Obileye into the area and drew a very decent save from George, but that came as the clock ticked into injury time, and home manager Davie Martindale would have been pleased with the way his men had played. managed to keep Celtic at bay for the most part.

Unfortunately for them, they botched all their good work shortly after the break as a late play from Steven Bradley finally allowed the visitors to open the scoring.

A high cross was delivered to the back post, and as Bradley tried to tap in and clear it to safety, Kuhn was simply too sharp for him. He reached in to pick the ball and put it back so Hatate could get the shot away. would end up in the back of the net via a pinball machine.

Martindale suffered a stroke on the sidelines and berated his men for failing to clear their lines, and from then on there was only one winner.


The main talking point of the first half was a potential penalty for Celtic as Kyogo went down under Livi captain Mikey Devlin’s challenge, with the striker stealing in front of the defender as he looked to clear a low cross into the area.

Referee Don Robertson waved away the Celtic calls, and VAR official Alan Muir very quickly dismissed any idea that he would invite his colleague onto the pitch for a second look.

It was, to be honest, a bit strange, because the incident fell at once into the terms ‘given them’ and ‘soft variation’, and if Robertson had awarded the penalty on the pitch, then it’s doubtful Muir would have seen it as a considered a clear and obvious error and overturned the call.

The referees, and the soon-to-resign Crawford Allan, will likely be relieved that Celtic won in the end and the incident will now be a footnote to the match rather than the main talking point of the week leading up to next Sunday.


Amid the excitement about the impending returns of Hatate and McGregor, it has been somewhat forgotten what a vital contribution Bernardo has made to this Celtic side during their absence at points this season. But it didn’t take long for the Portuguese midfielder to recall his talents after replacing Hatate.

He drove forward from the center of the park and held off the attentions of two Livingston players to form a one-two with O’Riley before smashing the ball low into George’s bottom right corner from the edge of the penalty area .

It was a fine finish, and while it will likely be the first-choice trio of McGregor, Hatate and O’Riley who will take their place in midfield at Ibrox, the first two of those are unlikely to make the final. 90 minutes.

Rodgers will be reassured by the depth he now has in that area with the likes of Bernardo and Tomoki Iwata – who was also impressive here.


The perception is that O’Riley has just come off the boil since Atletico Madrid’s January offer, which was rejected by Celtic, and he comes into this with just one goal in his last 11 games for the club.

Here, however, he seemed to be back in full swing, and in addition to his assist for Bernardo, he got the goal his performance deserved late on to put the icing on the cake for Celtic. However, George will be disappointed that the ball went through him earlier.

All in all, it was an encouraging afternoon for Celtic, with their marquee players finding form ahead of next week’s Ibrox showdown.

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