John Kennedy feels Reo Hatate return gives Celtic boost ahead of Old Firm showdown on Sunday

John Kennedy is of the opinion that the return of Reo Hatate, who brings a fresh burst of creativity, has significantly lifted Celtic’s spirits as they prepare to face Rangers in a crucial match on Sunday. The influential Japanese midfielder marked his comeback after a three-month absence due to a calf injury by starting in Celtic’s 3-0 victory over Livingston last Sunday, where he notably contributed to the opening goal, an own goal by Livingston’s Jamie Brandon. This win propelled Celtic one point ahead of Rangers, who have a game in hand, setting the stage for an eagerly anticipated top-of-the-table clash at Ibrox.

Assistant manager Kennedy praised Hatate’s immediate impact, highlighting his dedication in training and his impressive performance in the previous week’s practice match against St Mirren. Kennedy believes Hatate’s presence can be a game-changer for Celtic as they aim to secure the title in the remaining seven matches of the season. Despite not being at his peak fitness, Hatate’s calm demeanor on the field and his ability to create scoring opportunities provide Celtic with a different dimension and a confidence boost.

The return of Hatate, along with the potential comeback of other key players like Callum McGregor, signals a positive turn for Celtic, who have struggled with injuries throughout the season. Kennedy acknowledges the challenges posed by these injuries but remains optimistic about the team’s current form and their prospects for the remainder of the campaign. Despite occasional defensive lapses, Celtic’s attacking prowess has been commendable, and Kennedy emphasizes the importance of maintaining their performance levels heading into the decisive phase of the season.

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