Can Hatate or Hakšabanović be the 10 in Rodgers’ new Celtic?

Last week we took a look at the players most suited to filling the number 6 and number 8 roles for Brendan Rodgers in the coming season based on the current squad.  Today, we complete the midfield roundup with a look at the potential options the Northern Irishman will have at his immediate disposal for the number 10 role.

During his initial tenure as Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation with Tom Rogic often deployed as the 10 in the attacking trio behind the main striker.  Should Rodgers choose to adopt a similar set-up on his return, then this would result in a slight tweaking in the makeup of the midfield.

Rodgers has already committed to continuing the attacking and aggressive style of play that made Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic so entertaining to watch. The re-introduction of an out-and-out number 10 could see Rodgers 2.0 being even more attacking and forward-thinking than Ange’s side.

Such a change could open the door for some players on the fringes of the club to make their mark as they start with a clean slate under the new manager. It could also lead to further development for some of the already-established starters.

We take a look at some of the players who may be eyeing the coveted number 10 role.



Reo Hatate has been a revelation since joining Celtic in January 2022 and has rarely looked back since scoring a double in his Glasgow Derby debut on just his fourth appearance for the club.  Since then, Hatate has contributed 13 goals and 10 assists in a season and a half.

Identified and brought to the club by Ange Postecoglou, it comes as no surprise to see that rumours are starting to swirl that a move to England could be on the cards for the Japanese international.

Hatate has established himself as a key member of the Celtic midfield with his dynamic high-risk, high-reward style of play that has endeared him to the Celtic support.  The former Kawasaki Frontale man is one of those rare players with the ability to turn a game with a single action.

However, if there is a deficiency in his game, it is that he has a tendency to underperform in some of Celtic’s bigger games. There were times during the Champions League last season where Hatate looked off the pace and he has also struggled to make an impact in a couple of Glasgow Derby’s.

That said, he is a player of immense quality and unlimited potential who could absolutely thrive under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers for at least one season.  Playing in the more advanced number 10 role could give Hatate the freedom he needs to fully unleash his talents.


David Turnbull is a player who goes into this pre-season in a make-or-break mode in terms of saving his Celtic career.  The 5 times-capped Scotland international was reduced to little more than a bit part player under Ange Postecoglou in the last 18 months after the arrivals of Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley, and Aaron Mooy pushed him down the midfield pecking order.

Undoubtedly a talented player, Turnbull simply did not fit the requirements of an Ange Postecoglou midfielder. Having started strongly under Ange, a poorly timed injury combined with the aforementioned mid-season arrivals of Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley led to his place in the team slipping away.

Turnbull played 1,031 less minutes last season than in Ange’s first season, the equivalent of just under 11.5 games, as his influence and impact on the team waned.

It is possible that Rodgers sees something in David Turnbull that he can use to Celtic’s advantage in the coming season, however, I think it is more likely that David Turnbull could be looking for a new club this summer.



Despite mainly featuring in the wide areas so far for Celtic, Sead Hakšabanović could prove to be a left-field shout for the number 10 role.

The Montenegrin international, who tends to play more centrally for the national team has the technical qualities to succeed in the role.  The added responsibility of becoming the main creator in the side that comes with being a number 10 and occupying a new role in the team that plays to his strengths, could help provide Hakšabanović with a new lease of life at the club after struggling to find his feet in Glasgow so far.

After a stop-start season through injury and the form of those ahead of him in the queue, next season could be a make-or-break one for Hakšabanović.  If he can his fleeting moments of brilliance in regular and consistent performances over 90 minutes, then Celtic could have a real star on their hands.

In Hatate, Turnbull, and Hakšabanović, Brendan Rodgers has some high-quality options already in the squad should he choose to play with a number 10.  Young Ben Summers is another who should be knocking at the door for increased minutes in the coming season as he looks to develop his own career.

However, ever the dreamer, and the number 10 is the fantasista or fantasy position, I’m dreaming of a summer where Celtic can find the next Juan Roman Riquelme and somehow convince him that he wants to play at Dingwall on a cold February evening.

James McKenzie / Kevin McCluskie

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