Celtic and Rangers player ratings – Reo Hatate’s masterclass among a team of stand-outs; only two visitors with pass marks

As Old Firm debuts go, they don’t come much more imperious than the one produced by the Japanese midfielder as he inspired Ange Postecoglou’s team to a signature victory which saw them topple Rangers from the Premiership summit.

Two goals and an assist in the 3-0 romp provided the headline moments of Hatate’s contribution to Celtic’s first win over their great rivals in eight attempts.

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But there was so much more to admire in the performance of the 24-year-old whose £1.4 million transfer fee looks an absolute steal.

Reo Hatate takes the acclaim of the Celtic fans after scoring his second goal in the 3-0 win over Rangers. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Hatate’s range and accuracy of passing and knack of making space for himself in congested areas of the pitch is combined by an admirable work rate which makes him just as effective in providing defensive cover whenever required.

By the time Hatate left the field with around 20 minutes remaining, to a richly deserved ovation from a delirious home crowd, his work was done and Celtic had seized the initiative in the title race in emphatic fashion.

Who else shone for Celtic?

If Hatate was the Man of the Match by a distance, the home side had stand-out performers all over the pitch.

Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic dominated his individual battle with Rangers winger Ryan Kent. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Josip Juranovic, both defensively and in supplementing Celtic’s breathless attacking play – especially in the remarkably one-sided first half – produced perhaps his best 90 minutes so far.

In midfield, Hatate’s masterclass had excellent accompaniment from the assured and athletic Matt O’Riley – who looks like another inspired acquisition – and captain Callum McGregor who was not the least inhibited by playing with a face mask to protect his damaged cheekbone on his return to the side.

In Liel Abada, who tucked home Celtic’s third goal just before the break after Hatate’s double had left Rangers reeling, they have a player who stretches opponents out wide and also has a happy habit of being in the right place at the right time inside the penalty area.

What about Rangers?

On a chastening night for Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who suffered his first defeat as Rangers manager since his appointment in November, crumbs of comfort were thin on the ground.

The Ibrox side could be grateful for a return to top form by goalkeeper Allan McGregor after his weekend woes in the 3-3 draw against Ross County in Dingwall. The 40-year-old made several outstanding saves, most of them from Giorgos Giakoumakas, to prevent Rangers from a far heavier defeat.

The game passed Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo by but he was not alone in enduring a wretched night.

Ryan Jack’s arrival as a half-time sub steadied the ship and proved just how much of a positive difference he makes to the balance of Rangers. He almost pulled a goal back with a strike against the crossbar but by that stage there could be no consolation for the champions who have much to ponder in the coming days.

Celtic: Hart 6, Juranovic 8, Carter-Vickers 8, Starfelt 7, Taylor 7; O’Riley 8 (Soro 88), McGregor 8, Hatate 9 (McCarthy 72 5); Abada 8 (Forrest 62 6), Giakoumakis 6 (Maeda 62 6), Jota 7 (Doak 88). Subs not used: Bain, Scales, Ralston, Welsh.

Rangers: McGregor 8, Tavernier 5, Goldson 5, Bassey 5, Barisic 4 (Balogun 46 6); Arfield 5, Kamara 5 (Jack 46 7); Diallo 4 (Sakala 46 6), Aribo 5, Kent 5; Roofe 5. Subs not used: McLaughlin, Lundstram, Davis, Sands, Lowry, Itten.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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