Joe Hart could provide Celtic with a perfect swansong this season

Throughout the summer and over the last year there have been plenty of calls for Celtic to sign a new goalkeeper. Some high-profile mistakes in European competitions, last season’s Champions League in particular, being the main reasons why fans feel like Celtic need a new keeper to replace Joe Hart.

Brendan Rodgers’ mentions of European ambitions in his early media duties at Celtic Park only heightened fans’ expectations of a new goalkeeper arriving this summer and, with Croatian number 1 Dominik Livakovic being available on the market for just £5.7million, fans thought that he was the man the club needed to be the top stopper for Celtic in Europe.

However, with the summer transfer window slamming shut and no goalkeeper coming through Parkhead’s gates, it will be Joe Hart who Celtic will stick with to navigate us through the rest of the domestic season and the Champions League group stage campaign. Rodgers has reaffirmed his trust in the former England number 1, so that begs the question, is Joe Hart the man for Celtic in goals this season or should a replacement have been signed?

On-the-ball ability

The main criticism that has been levelled at Joe Hart’s feet has been that he isn’t good enough on the ball, a key attribute amongst modern day goalkeepers with a heightened emphasis and importance on the attack starting with the keeper. In Brendan Rodgers’ previous tenure at Parkhead there was a increased importance on this and Craig Gordon struggled with it. Fans could see this and urged Rodgers to stop being so naive, but he persisted.

However, Rodgers seems to have learned his lesson from last time round as there has been an emphasis on Hart to just get rid of the danger swiftly with the ball at his feet, alleviating a lot of stress that may have been placed on his shoulders. This was noticeable at Pittodrie against Aberdeen and also led to Celtic’s eventual winning goal at Ibrox as it was a long punt forward from the 36-year-old keeper that indirectly led to Kyogo Furuhashi’s goal.

In Europe, dilly-dallying or lapses in concentration will almost always be punished and this tactical tweak from Rodgers should allow fans to see the best of Joe Hart as well as hiding the 36-year-old’s limitations.



One thing that is mightily important for Celtic in Europe, without doubt, is a top shot-stopper. Given the gulf in quality between Celtic and the opposition faced on a consistent basis in Europe, we are going to be on the defensive with our backs against the wall for large spells of games.

This places a lot of importance on having a top shot-stopper in between the posts with the likes of Artur Boruc and Fraser Forster in recent years providing save after save that can single-handedly help Celtic defy the odds and pull off some massive upsets.

Hart is just that with his shot-stopping abilities never being in doubt. At Ibrox, he pulled off some vitally important saves in the latter stages of the game that could very well have turned 3 points into 1 last Sunday.

Experienced leader

Another noticeable aspect of Hart’s game has been his experience shining through. Celtic have been plagued by injury in recent weeks with the backline never having been fully settled so far this season. Given this, Hart has played a key role in shoring up and commanding his defenders in front of him, providing a composed and stable head throughout the most chaotic of moments.

This can be a big factor for Celtic in Europe as Hart can organise and reassure his defence when the going gets tough against Europe’s elite.


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