Reo Hatate shares wholesome Rangers moment after fan repaired Celtic star's house

Celtic star Reo Hatate
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Reo Hatate admits he's been blown away by the passion of Celtic and Rangers fans.

The Japanese midfielder has been a revelation at Parkhead since arriving from Kawasaki Frontale two-and-a-half years ago. But the playmaker, 26, hinted earlier this week that he'd like to pursue a fresh challenge and test himself in one of Europe's top five leagues.

Brendan Rodgers will be keen to keep the fans' favourite for at least another season after an injury-plagued year. And Hatate knows he's unlikely to experience anything like the Old Firm rivalry wherever he ends up next. 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."

While that may have been a rare wholesome moment in the Glasgow goldfish bowl, Hatate shared a completely different memory after scoring a double in his derby debut back in February 2022.

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!"