Reo Hatate 'wowed' by Celtic fan who wouldn't take his money as star waxes lyrical on 2 teammates to Japanese media

Reo Hatate has waxed lyrical over Celtic star duo Callum McGregor and Matt O'Riley in Japan.

The midfielder - who suffered an injury plagued campaign last term - is yet to report to Lennoxtown HQ for pre-season training as Brendan Rodgers starts to put his stars through their paces ahead of defending their Scottish Premiership crown and crack at the newly revamped Champions League. The likes of countryman Kyogo are back on the grass with the Hoops facing Ayr United and legendary skipper Scott Brown at somerset Park on Friday in a first pre-season outing.

Hatate is not quite ready for a return and the fans' favourite will be hoping for a campaign without the long injury absences. He's a key man in the heart of the champions' midfield when fit but it is the two men he regularly has beside him that he's heaped praise on. Skipper McGregor has been praised for his engine and ability to carry the ball while O'Riley has been labelled a 'fantastic player' with his passing and ability to score goals highlighted by his team-mate.

Speaking to Japanese media, in footage translated by writer Yatao, the midfielder said: "Callum McGregor always runs for the team, works hard in defence, can carry the ball smoothly in attack, and can hit good shots. And Matt O'Riley is tall and left-footed, can pass the ball well and score goals. I gradually realised our combination was starting to go well. Anyway, O'Riley is a really fantastic player."

He continued: "Scotland is a place rich in nature, and Edinburgh, the city next to Glasgow, has very beautiful buildings, and just walking there makes me feel refreshed. Also, the whole city of Glasgow is enthusiastic about football, so I'm really happy to be able to play in such a city.

"Celtic fans have great degree of enthusiasm for football, so when I go to a café after game or on a day off, the fans often call out to me. For example, a clerk who is a Celtic fan at a café once told me, 'You don't have to pay for the coffee, so drink it.' Wow.".

Rodgers replaced Ange Postecoglou in the summer after his move to the EPL with Tottenham and Hatate has opened up on the early moments with the former Liverpool boss and how it took time to adapt to his new ideas. He added: "Brendan Rodgers presented to our team what he wanted to do while maintaining parts of things that we have been doing well until last season. We certainly suffered early this season, but I gradually began to understand what he wanted to do for our team."