By Alex McLeish

12th Dec, 2021 | 9:55am

McLeish tips Celtic to sign 'hidden gem' Hatate after update from Japan on talks

Ange Postecoglou’s in-depth knowledge of the Japanese market means Celtic could be about to unearth a “hidden gem” in Reo Hatate.

So says ex-Rangers and Scotland boss Alex McLeish, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the Hoops’ pursuit of the versatile 24-year-old.

The Kawasaki Front star, who plays primarily as a left-back but is also well-versed in a number of midfield roles, is out of contract in February.

Sky Sports reported on Monday (6 December) that Hatate was due to meet Kawasaki chiefs this week to express his desire to join Celtic next month.

Striker Daizen Maeda and midfielder Yosuke are also named as January targets from Postecoglou’s old stomping in the J-League.

McLeish claims that the Australian manager’s three years in Japan mean that Postecoglou s is well-equipped to spot a diamond in the rough.

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“These are players that ultimately we don’t know,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.

“But Ange Postecoglou feels Hatate is a hidden gem that can perhaps enhance Celtic.

“We haven’t got proof of that unless we look over videos and stuff like that, but Ange knows all about him and that’s why this deal could go through.

“He will understand the mentality of the guy and understand a hell of a lot more than we will do from just watching his best moments on video.

“You have to see the whole package to understand his technical ability and intelligence.

“You really want intelligent technical players when you are playing for the stakes that these guys are.”

Celtic will be looking to close the gap on 1st-place Rangers when they face Motherwell today (12 December).

Postecoglou has used five different players at left-back already this term.

In other news, pundit suggests Celtic facing “absolute disaster” after Kyogo Furuhashi injury update.