Joe Hart’s suspension shows why we should have signed another keeper

Joe Hart has come under scrutiny again following a massive mistake away to Livingston last weekend. On another day against a better side, Hart’s rashness, as he charged at Liberian international Mohammed Sangare in the 28th minute, could have cost Celtic dearly.

The dismissal of England’s former number 1 at the Tony Macaroni Arena comes after his midweek performance against Feyenoord in Rotterdam was also placed under a critical spotlight. Celtic were within a whisker of going in level against the Champions League Pot 1 side when a 47th-minute free-kick was rifled into Hart’s gaping bottom-left corner with relative ease by Calvin Stengs.

After several error-free perfromances, and in fact making vital saves in many of those games, Hart’s form has again been questioned. The 36-year-old will sit out the upcoming league game against Motherwell through suspension, and is likely to be replaced by Scott Bain, but are these recent mistakes merely blips in an otherwise solid third season for Celtic’s first-choice keeper?

On the question of who will take the gloves for Celtic’s visit to Motherwell this weekend, Scott Bain replaced Hart against Livingston and has also been named in the Champions League squad, so it is natural to think that he’d start at Fir Park. It could be a rare opportunity for Benjamin Siegrist to get a run-out, though, as our injury crisis has shown us how important it is to have options ready to step up.

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Early positive signs

Hart was receiving praise for some of his early season form, with Rodgers making some simple tactical tweaks to help erase the potential for error in the experienced English stopper’s game. Hart has been encouraged to hurry the ball out from the back and punt the ball long instead of simply playing it out from the back when Celtic are under pressure, something that has garnered positive results.

Hart was also popping up with some important saves in big moments for Celtic, producing some massive stops at Ibrox against Rangers in particular in a tight game which could have flipped either way.

In games where the team’s backs are against the wall, having a keeper who you can rely on for a big save is absolutely vital. His experienced head and leadership qualities have also helped shore up an inexperienced and makeshift Celtic backline with Celtic’s options in that area currently threadbare due to the ongoing injury crisis.

Mistakes in his game

Despite the aforementioned positives, there is still the risk of an error in Hart’s game, and his problem is that they always seem to occur in games against higher quality opposition where the margin for mistakes is so very little.

A high-profile error away to RB Leipzig in last season’s Champions League group stage, as well as the mistake against Feyenoord mid-week, are blunders that Celtic just can’t afford to make, especially if European progress is one of Rodgers’ real ambitions at the club.


Should Celtic have signed another goalkeeper in the summer?

Despite the mistakes and errors in his game, Hart brings a lot of quality to the team with his aforementioned leadership and experience. However, if Celtic want to push on in Europe then they need players that are dependable at the highest level in each and every position on the park.

It was reported that signing a goalkeeper was on the agenda for Celtic in the summer, with Croatian stopper Dominik Livakovic being linked with the club on multiple occasions during window, but no concrete move from the club was ever made.

Celtic should have signed a keeper during the pre-season window, but it now seems like a move that will have to wait until next summer, with Hart being the keeper that Brendan Rodgers trusts to help navigate the club through this season.


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