Celtic’s International Issues: The Fans, The Players & The Club

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda

Cut Out The Noise With Celtic 3-2-1

3 Articles, 2 Videos & 1 Quote From The Week in Celtic, delivered every Tuesday directly to your inbox. Join hundreds of fans already enjoying Celtic 3-2-1 from The Celtic Exchange*

*No Spam or Junk Mail, Ever.

Over the next ten days or so  most of Celtic’s first team squad will spend their days working away at Lennoxtown as we close in on the business end of the season.

At the same time no less than seven of Ange Postecoglou’s players will instead be off representing their respective countries in a variety of competitions across the globe.

Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate won’t be amongst them.

To the surprise of most – particularly here in Scotland – the talented duo were once again overlooked by national team manager Hajime Moriyasu.

This follows their absence from November’s World Cup in Qatar, where team-mate Daizen Maeda was the sole Celtic representative in the Japan squad.

Many supporters have mixed feelings on international football in general.

But how will the players feel about the latest omission?

And in the bigger picture will it be a cause of concern for anyone at the club – particularly within the scouting department?


Some fans seem to take comfort in players not being included in national squads for a variety of reasons.

Firstly there’s the travel involved and the impact that can have on energy levels by the time players return to Celtic Park.

On this occasion Japan play back to back friendlies in the Land of the Rising Sun – some 5,700+ miles from Parkhead Cross – and there’s no doubt such travel would take its toll on even the fittest of athletes.

That Daizen Maeda (who will make the journey) appears to be some sort of machine is merely a bonus.

Daizen Maeda in Action For Japan
Daizen Maeda in Action For Japan

In addition there’s the suggestion of a higher risk of injury, though when asked about the matter specifically this is something that Ange Postecoglou is keen to counter.

The manager maintains that you’re just as at risk during a training session – especially the intensity we currently train at – as in a match scenario, and so doesn’t buy into that particular theory.

Overall though from a fan point of view the simple fact for most supporters is that Celtic is their passion.

And for many, in football terms at least, is their only concern.

This is completely understandable.

But what about from a player’s perspective.


Ask any number of professional players at any level of the game if they have a desire to represent their country and the answer will be a resounding yes.

For most it’s the ultimate honour to be deemed amongst the very best in their country and to be given a chance to showcase their talents on the international stage.

Japan is a country of 125 million people and so it’s no easy task to be considered for what’s a 26-man squad on this particular occasion.

However, there’s no doubt that both Kyogo and Hatate are intensely driven in their quest to feature prominently for their national team.

Both have responded humbly when questioned about their omission from World Cup 2022, but speaking last month Hatate expressed his disappointment in a refreshingly honest manner.

“I have now faced my feelings about the World Cup in Qatar.

“On the day that the Japanese squad was announced, I was still in Scotland and could not see it live.

Prior to that, I thought I wouldn’t be selected because I did not get a chance to participate in the last game before the  announcement. However, when the members were announced and my name wasn’t there, I didn’t think, ‘As expected’.

Reo Hatate Has Been in Fine Form For Celtic This Season
Reo Hatate Has Been in Fine Form For Celtic This Season

“It was frustrating and when I returned to Japan after Celtic gave me time off, I didn’t watch our group games live.

I did that to rest my body, as I had been playing a lot since July last year.

But now that I’ve sorted out my feelings, looking back, I think that the reason I was tired was only half of it.

The other half was frustration and I couldn’t honestly watch the games.

As time passed, I was able to sort out my feelings, and I felt I had to watch Japan’s games. So when I got back to Glasgow, I reviewed all of the three group stage games again.”

At 24 years of age Hatate has time on his side and could feasibly feature in the next two World Cups.

For Kyogo however World Cup 2026 (to be held in the USA, Mexico & Canada) will realistically be his last chance to display his considerable talents on the biggest stage of all.


Kyogo and Hatate of course aren’t the only two Celtic stars not to be on their travels this time around.

For a variety of reasons players such as Matt O’Riley, David Turnbull and Jota amongst others also find themselves out of the international picture. At least for now.

Matt O'Riley Is Yet To Fully Establish Himself With Denmark
Matt O’Riley Is Yet To Fully Establish Himself With Denmark

Will this lead some to consider a move to a bigger league at some stage in the near future?

Only the players themselves can answer that with any certainty, but for some at least it may be a consideration when the next round of contract talks take place.

Beyond that Mark Lawwell and his recruitment team must also be wary of any concerns this gives to potential signing targets – and their agents.

Whilst the prospect of challenging for silverware and competing in European football’s top tournaments will be a big motivator for many, there are some who simply won’t risk jeopardising their international careers in any way.


Having managed his country at a World Cup Ange is a huge advocate of international football and of the boost it can provide to players.

You just have to look at the form of Daizen Maeda, Arron Mooy, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston since returning from Qatar for evidence of this.

When asked specifically about Kyogo and Hatate he expressed his disappointment for both players, but as always provided a balanced viewpoint.

 “Obviously both boys are playing really well and playing some good football. It’s disappointing for them that they haven’t been selected but that’s the nature of international football, it comes down to the national team manager’s decisions.

Whatever decisions they make, in terms of being disrespectful it’s one person’s opinion and I’m not really sure that we should take many far-reaching conclusions.”

In this case it’s the opinion of Hajime Moriyasu that’s been brought into sharp focus for many Celtic fans.

And everyone’s entitled to their opinion of course.

It just so happens that his is the wrong one.

Tune in to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we discuss Call-Up Concerns, The John Kennedy Question, Winning At Anfield & Much More!

Available wherever you get your podcasts, by clicking the player below, or here at The Celtic Exchange website.

Know someone who might like this?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Podcasts
Scroll to Top

Have You Tried
'Celtic 3-2-1 Yet'?

3 Articles, 2 Videos & 1 Quote From The Week in Celtic, delivered every Tuesday directly to your inbox. 

Join hundreds of fans already enjoying Celtic 3-2-1 from The Celtic Exchange!