Celtic news latest as Hatate dishes out English advice and McGregor looks to maintain dominant Hampden record
The cup final talk is building to a crescendo and soon it will be time for Celtic to take on the music.
The Hoops will defend their League Cup crown on Sunday when rivals Rangers meet them in the final of the Viaplay Cup at Hampden Park. Ange Postecoglou’s side have been relentless in the Premiership and are yet to lose a domestic game this season but one of their two draws has been against Michael Beale’s Light Blues so they know they are in for a fight.
There was a humble approach to their thoughts on the competition and the conversation will soon be on a Hampden turf, which should be in better shape than what both sides found it in last month’s semi-finals. There were plenty of headlines leading up to it and 24 hours to go is here record sport Summary of all the big news around Celtic Park.
Midfielder Reo Hatate has revealed he can communicate in English with his teammates in the park. The Japanese star and his compatriot have all used translators during their time at Glasgow but the playmaker says he’s learned enough to keep up with his peers.
He said in a fans question-and-answer session: “Even if our team scores, the fact will soon become past events, so I’m trying to have conversations that improve our team’s game. I try to get it across to my teammates as concisely as possible using simple English that I’ve learned. We don’t have enough time to talk during the game, so I try to convey quickly to my teammates what the whole team thinks is necessary to improve.”
If there is such a thing as a Hampden specialist, that man is Captain Callum McGregor. The midfielder knows his way around big games at the National Stadium and has played in 13 finals from his time at Lennoxtown youth academy. Ahead of the 14th, McGregor is taking home a stunning 100% record and he will be looking to continue that into Sunday’s derby.
European red flag
Former Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has mentioned Celtic in his anger at the UEFA machinery currently dominating European football. Talk of a continental Super League has never stopped and against this backdrop, the ex-Turin powerbroker says clubs like Celtic will fall short.
The Greece striker left Parkhead earlier this month but he will have a frustrating time leading up to his stint in Atlanta. Giorgos Giakoumakis is still waiting for red tape to be cleared so he can make his MLS debut. His new club confirm his opening game is not available for him.
Cameron Carter-Vickers says he will have no problem engaging with US team-mates Malik Tillman and James Sands if he gets a chance to play in the League Cup.
There was an awkward dinner when they met then-American boss Gregg Berhalter after Celtic’s impressive 4-0 win over Rangers in September, but that won’t quench his thirst for victory.
Our man commented on what everyone is talking about. Fashion Sakala made headlines this week by calling Celtic ‘the other mob’ and it hasn’t escaped Chris Sutton, who doesn’t think it’s great taste.
He is “sure there were even sane Rangers fans who would have groaned at some of his comments.”
The missing ingredient
Strong discipline will be a key factor in Celtic’s Hampden schedule, according to Postecoglou. The Australian has played seven derby games since arriving on the Scottish coast.
This game has a habit of getting fiery and sometimes heated, but there have been no red card offenses by either side during this period. And for the creator of Angeball, he wants it to stay that way.