Reo Hatate admires Rangers passion as Celtic star shown unseen side of Glasgow by Gers daft repair man

Reo Hatate insists his admiration for Scottish football passion crosses the Old Firm divide.

Celtic's Japanese star hit admitted this week that his long term goal is to play in one of Europe's top 5 leagues. But for now, the intensity he's sees from his own fans and those across the city at Rangers means he's more than happy to soak up the Glasgow rivalry for now after seeing the other side of it on a home visit, as he explained in an interview in his homeland.

He said: "The atmosphere the day before and the day after a Celtic v Rangers match is really different. You can see that everyone is cheering with pride. If it's Celtic, everyone has pride as a Celtic fan, if it's Rangers, everyone has pride as a Rangers fan. For example, there was a time when a Rangers fan came to repair my house. I could tell because he had the Rangers badge on his phone. I thought, 'Oh, I hope this is all right.'

"I got my house repaired and he said, 'I'm proud of Rangers.' He also said, 'but I'm rooting for you, so keep up the good work.' I think every team's fans and supporters have that kindness, even though they are proud of their team.

"Football culture is deeply rooted in Glasgow. I strongly feel that. I think it is special for me as a player to be able to play in the stadiums and in that city now. I haven't played for other teams in Europe, so I can't compare it, but I do feel that Glasgow is special."

However, Hatate admitted his first experience of an Old Firm game two years ago showed the other side of what it meant to fans too, after he netted a double in a 3-0 win. He recalled: "When I stayed at the hotel the night before my first derby, I think Rangers fans set off fireworks outside the hotel probably to keep us from sleeping.

"Then, I scored in the game against Rangers the next day. The following day, I went out and a Rangers fan saw me driving and gave me the finger. That's when I realised I was playing in Europe!"