Celtic suffer huge blow as top star ruled out until Christmas after suffering serious hamstring injury

Reo Hatate Celtic

Reo Hatate has been ruled out until Christmas

Celtic have suffered a major blow with the news that midfielder Reo Hatate is unlikely to play again before Christmas.

The Japan international suffered a hamstring injury in the first minute of last week’s Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid, and tests have revealed significant damage.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said: “Reo, we are not 100 per cent on the exact timings, but he is certainly going to be out until after Christmas, we think, so that’s a shame.”

The 25-year-old will miss a major chunk of the season with Celtic playing 12 games before Christmas, including three in the Champions League.

The Hoops travel to Dundee on Boxing Day before hosting Rangers four days later and Hatate may face an extended period out given the winter break follows Celtic’s trip to play St Mirren on January 2.

Rodgers added: “It’s a disappointment for him. He has had a bit of a broken start to the season and obviously this will take him over the halfway point in the league.

“So it is very frustrating for him, especially someone who really commits himself to his game and his professionalism. Everything he does, he tries to do right.

“But he is in a great place for that support, from the coaches, the manager to the medical team, the whole staff here will support him like we do with all the players. And hopefully we will get him back sooner rather than later.”

Fresh injury blow for Hoops ace

Hatate had a six-week spell out with a hamstring injury in his other leg towards the end of last season, and missed a month with a calf injury earlier this term. So Celtic will explore all avenues to ensure Hatate’s return to fitness is lasting.

“That’s the ideal scenario,” Rodgers said. “It’s just investigating everything he is doing outside of here as well as here and trying to piece it all together.

“There are also unfortunately players that, sadly, their collagen means they pick up lots of injuries and how their body is, and they can just maybe sometimes never stay fit.

“He is a guy that has come into the game late. He has done fantastic when he has been fit and available for Celtic.

“It’s just a case of trying to look deeper into everything around his development and what he is doing here and what he is doing away from here, just to see if there is anything that we can find out.

“Because ideally you want your best players available, and he is certainly one of our top players.”

There was better news for Rodgers ahead of Wednesday’s cinch Premiership meeting with St Mirren after Alistair Johnston was passed fit after taking a clearance to the face during Saturday’s draw with Hibernian.

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