AS a huge Harry Potter fan, Reo Hatate is excited to be living in Scotland now.

The new Celtic midfielder intends visit the locations where the films were shot when he gets some time off in the coming months.

A trip on the train that goes from Fort William to Mallaig via the Glenfinnan viaduct – the route the Hogwart’s Express famously took in the movies of the JK Rowling books – is also a distinct possibility.

But Hatate wants to do much more than simply see the sights in this country – producing a little magic of his own on the park and helping his new club to conjure up more silverware are his main priorities.

He has been pleased to see his countryman Kyogo Furuhashi make an immediate impact since moving to Glasgow in the summer and is now determined to emulate his success. 

“I have heard that in Scotland there are places and areas where the movies of Harry Potter were filmed,” he said. “I would like to go and see them and to visit these places where that filming was done.

“I have seen all of the Harry Potter films and I like them. I know about the train and the bridge.  That would be good to see those things.”

The prospect of making his Celtic debut in a cinch Premiership match against Hibernian in front of a full house at Parkhead next Monday night, though, is far more appealing to him. 

“It is very exciting to think about that we will be playing at the stadium next Monday,” he said. “I want to show my football in front of the Celtic supporters so that they can remember what I have done. I am very excited to be here and training and working with the other players.”

Hatate, a £1.5m acquisition from J League outfit Kawasaki Frontale this month, will be doing very well to make the same sort of impression as Furuhashi.

The £4.6m signing from Vissel Kobe quickly endeared himself to supporters and is Celtic’s leading scorer in the 2021/22 campaign with 16 goals in all competitions.

That tally that includes a double in the Premier Sports Cup final victory over Hibs at Hampden last month

However, the versatile left-sided player, who joined at the same time as Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi, is certainly focused on contributing as much as the forward has.

“I was enjoying what was happening with him,” he said. “I was aware of it. But, for me, that was a thing that was involving another player.

“I am me and I have to try and concentrate on what I can do when I am here. What I want to do here is to keep doing what I have been doing in the past few years so that I can perform well and to bring results to the team.

“Since I started playing in professional football, I have three titles (he won the J League twice and the Emperor’s Cup once with Frontale). I just need to work hard to contribute.

“I don’t about how the results will go, but I just want to make sure I contribute 100 per cent and that is all I think at this stage.”

The 24-year-old has played continually for the last 10 months – in Japan the season runs from March to December – but he is confident he will be at his best when the Premiership resumes next week.

“I have had quite a short break since the end of the last season, but that doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “In one week, we have a game at Celtic and there will be no excuses from me. I will prepare myself and be 100 per cent ready for the match.”

Hatate, who has played as a striker, winger, attacking midfielder, central midfielder and left back in the past, arrived in Scotland with a reputation for being a committed competitor who is a physical presence on the park.

He is intrigued to see how he copes with the Scottish game. “Let’s see what happens,” he said. “I have to get into the team and play first and then try to do my best. Then we can see how it turns for me and how it goes with the football.”

Hatate has not, unlike Furuhashi, Ideguchi and Maeda, represented Japan at full international level to date. But he has been tipped to do so in his homeland and could this month be called up for the World Cup qualifiers against China and Saudi Arabia.

Does he think that moving to play abroad will enhance his chances of being  with the national team in future. He is, despite Qatar 2022 getting underway in November, not overly concerned about his prospects?

“I have come here to play for Celtic,” he said. “I am thinking just of that at the moment and giving 100 per cent to be playing with my team-mates.

“I knew about Celtic and the club before I was coming here. I was aware that it is a historical club and an important club. I am just concentrating on my next game. That is all at the moment.”

Hatate played for Frontale against the Yokohama F Marinos teams that Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou coach during the three years the spent working in Japan.

He is optimistic that he can feature under the vastly-experienced Greek-Australian and improve as a player in the coming months and seasons in Scotland. 

“I didn’t have a personal relationship with him before because I was just playing as part of another club against his teams,” he said. “But I am looking forward to working with him and establishing a strong relationship with him.”

Hatate’s father Koji was a baseball player who represented Japan and then went on to become a coach. But there was never any prospect of him following in his old man’s footsteps. 

“It is true that my father was a baseball player, but, in terms of me and other sports, it was nothing,” he said. “I enjoyed football too much to think about doing anything else and that was it. It was always going to be my sport.”

If Reo Hatate can do as well at Celtic as Shunsuke Nakamura and Kyogo Furuhashi in future it will have proved to be a wise choice.