Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou explains why he's brought in Joe Hart and James McCarthy

By Euan Davidson

August 3, 2021

Celtic have signed former Crystal Palace midfielder James McCarthy, and former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The club announced the dual signing this afternoon [Celtic FC].

The club state state that the former Hamilton sensation has joined the Bhoys on a four-year deal, while 75-cap Englishman Joe Hart has signed for three years.

However, the Mail state that McCarthy will not be joining the Hoops for Thursday’s Europa League qualifier against Jablonec. McCarthy has undergone private training over the summer.

Instead, McCarthy will greet the Bhoys upon their return. He could, therefore, be available to face Dundee next weekend. Hart, meanwhile, could potentially feature on Thursday.

The 30-year-old, who has 42 Ireland caps [Transfermarkt], had been a long, long-rumoured Celtic target. A boyhood fan, McCarthy was an U17s player for Celtic, before making the move to Hamilton Academical.

It was there that supporters started to take notice of the defensive midfielder. His displays earned him a move to Wigan, before Everton came calling in 2013.

With 272 Premier League appearances under his belt [Transfermarkt], McCarthy brings real experience to a young Celtic squad. With Ismaila Soro the primary option in defensive midfield, Ange Postecoglou now has some rotational picks in the middle of the park.

Scott McDonald joins 67HH for the Ange Postecoglou era

Scott McDonald joins 67HH for the Ange Postecoglou era

For Crystal Palace last season, McCarthy averaged a 76% success rate with his passes. In more free-flowing set-ups, however, the Irish international has been prolific and proficient with his passing. At Everton, in the 14-15 Europa League, McCarthy found the mark with nearly 90% of his passes [WhoScored?].

That kind of metronomic distribution will be of interest to Ange Postecoglou.

For Hart, it’s an answer to Celtic’s goalkeeping issues. While there are risks attached, primarily due to Hart’s indifferent last few seasons, he still represents a significant upgrade, even at 34 years of age.

Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

What Ange Postecoglou said

Manager Ange Postecoglou sounded utterly delighted. On the double-signing, the boss said [Celtic FC]:

“I’m delighted that we have signed two top-class players in Joe and James. Both of them have a wealth of experience at both club and international level, and that is something which can only benefit the squad, and I’m looking forward to working with both of them.

“I know our supporters will be well aware of both players, and I’m sure they’ll welcome them to the club and look forward to seeing both of them play for Celtic in the seasons ahead.”

Celtic firming up two key positions with Joe Hart and James McCarthy

Certainly, McCarthy is one that’s been on the cards for what feels like an eternity. The timing is right this go, however. Although some fruitful loan spells have taken place, the young midfielders from the Academy probably aren’t quite ready to step up yet.

And while this move was met with cynicism, chiefly by myself in January, it’s not hard to see the benefit post-Broony.

Simply put, we need more grit in the midfield, and an experienced head to guide the likes of Ismaila Soro, Scott Robertson et al along. While a youth movement had been hinted at in pre-season, there’s still plenty of time for the young core of midfielders to develop.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Hart, meanwhile, has a massive opportunity. Largely unheralded since leaving Manchester City, he still is a four-time Premier League golden glove winner. He’s also won Premier League titles. Hart’s played Champions League football, and at major international tournaments.

So, there’s experience aplenty to fall back on. This could be the move that rejuvenates his career, and put him back in England reckoning.

A double move for Celtic? On a Tuesday afternoon?

You love to see it.

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