Brendan Rodgers unveils Celtic’s strategy to prepare Reo Hatate for the upcoming match against Rangers, with friendly matches playing a crucial role in the process.

Brendan Rodgers emphasizes the significance of Reo Hatate’s imminent return to Celtic, labeling it as “significant” for the team. The Japanese midfielder, who hasn’t featured since October due to a calf injury sustained during the Asian Cup, is poised to participate in a closed-doors friendly in the coming week. Rodgers plans to use this opportunity to provide valuable match minutes to Hatate and other players during the international break, aiming to bolster the squad ahead of the intense title race.

Rodgers expresses eagerness to have a nearly full squad available for the remainder of the season, which has been marred by injuries. He anticipates Hatate’s return to action in the Premiership clash against Livingston on March 31, followed by the Old Firm derby against Rangers a week later. Despite having limited appearances under Rodgers’ second spell as manager, Hatate is expected to play a significant role in the title race, which includes eight remaining games and a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.

Rodgers confirms Hatate’s progress in training and plans to accelerate his recovery through the upcoming friendly match. He underscores Hatate’s importance to the team’s dynamics and performance, highlighting the positive impact he has had in previous domestic matches.

Despite facing various injury setbacks throughout the season, Rodgers remains optimistic about Celtic’s prospects and their position in the title race. He acknowledges the challenges posed by injuries but emphasizes the team’s resilience and determination to compete until the end of the season. Hatate’s imminent return adds depth and dynamism to the squad, addressing a crucial need that has been felt in his absence.

Hatate’s last appearance for Celtic was in the Champions League draw against Atletico Madrid in October, during which the team secured positive results in all domestic matches he participated in. Rodgers emphasizes the significance of having a player of Hatate’s caliber available and acknowledges the impact his return will have on the team’s performance.

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