Ange explains behind-the-scenes reason for Celtic's £1m Joe Hart move

By David Walton

May 3, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has explained that Joe Hart’s leadership and dressing-room influence was a key reason why Celtic made their move for the Englishman last summer.

Hart proved big for Celtic on Sunday against Rangers at Parkhead. He made big saves to deny Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala late on as the Hoops got the point they needed to nudge themselves towards the championship.

It’s hardly the first time Hart has come up big for the club either. He has 25 clean sheets in 51 appearances this season [Transfermarkt]. Despite his struggles in playing out from the back at times, he still offers some assurity in between the sticks.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And Ange has stated that his mentality and leadership were key reasons as to why he signed as he tipped him to play for years to come.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Postecoglou said: “Joe’s still young for a goalkeeper. I just felt he’s still got a bit to prove. He’s said himself, he needed a bit of love, and I knew he’d get it at this football club. I knew the supporters would embrace him and he loved it here with the group we were putting together.

“Is he a leader? Absolutely. That was one of the reasons we brought him in. We identified pretty early we’d lost some experience in the group and we wanted to bring some experience in to the team. I thought Joe was a top-quality goalkeeper. But the background we did on him showed to me is a first-class person and a real leader in the dressing room.

“He’s been fantastic this year. To be fair, we haven’t need him a lot as a goalkeeper – but on Sunday we did. He stood up and that’s why he’s a top keeper. Irrespective of his influence on games, his influence around the dressing room has been important.”

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Joe Hart has more than proved his worth at Celtic Park this season; will be key in UCL

Celtic have clearly gotten their rewards from investing their faith in Hart. We’ve got a calm and composed figure in our own penalty box now. A goalkeeper who can come up big in crucial moments. Yes, he might not have been at his best when Sakala scored on Sunday, but he more than made up for it afterward.

Even for the strike Sakala struck the post with, Hart made himself look massive and cut down the angle. He used all of his experience in the closing stages to ensure we got the result we need.

Now, the Englishman looks set to get his own rewards for taking up the option of joining Celtic. Winning the league will secure UEFA Champions League football for next season. Hart will be back competing at the top level of club football once again after spells in the wilderness with the likes of Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

It’s a massive achievement for Hart given everything he’s had to go through in his career since leaving Manchester City. He’s finally found a home, and you can see how comfortable he is at Celtic Park.

Yes, there remain concerns over the quality of his distribution and all the rest of it. There can still be moments in which he appears to switch off or make some mistakes. But it’s important he continues to stick at it and weed them out.

He only cost Celtic £1m [Sky Sports]. Let that sink in. When it comes to the bargain signings of the summer, Joe is certainly up near the top of the list.

In other news, Hearts hero struggling with groin injury ahead of Celtic Park trip