Celtic hero Packie Bonner hails the "critical" summer signing who doesn't get the headlines
Former Celtic goalkeeper Packie Bonner has hailed summer signing Joe Hart for his performances and attitude in the jersey.
Bonner, who made 641 appearances for Celtic [Celtic Wiki], is sometimes criticised by supporters. In the main, though, he had an excellent connection with the Hoops faithful, and made countless great saves for Celtic and Ireland.
Now, he’s praised another former international goalkeeper in Joe Hart. He says that strikers get the headlines – primarily Japanese sensation Kyogo Furuhashi. But Hart has played just as important a role in Postecoglou’s exciting Celtic.
Bonner, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said:
“Strikers always get the bigger headlines and the most money. As a former goalkeeper I know that only too well! But I believe Joe has been just as critical a signing for Celtic. He’s made the big saves and brought stability to the goalkeeping position.
“And you can see the confidence the boys in front of Joe have in him. Look at the game on Sunday. He didn’t have a great deal to do, but the one chance Dundee United had, a powerful shot across him, Joe’s responded well.
“He’s 34 now, but he’s still a top professional and performer.
“With Joe’s experience I get the impression he will also be very good in the dressing room. He’s had a successful career in England. He’s a winner.
“I think he’ll have a big influence on the other players who will respect him for the career he’s had. Joe’s got the leadership qualities the team needed.”
Packie Bonner is bang on: Joe Hart has been essential for Celtic
There were plenty of us – myself included – who had doubts about Joe Hart coming to Celtic. It looked as if, at 34, he had already played his best football. A few years in relative Premier League wilderness hadn’t helped that reputation.
Just as valid were concerns about Joe Hart adapting to Ange Postecoglou’s style, where the goalkeeper is relied upon to make crisp, accurate passes out to defenders. That was a famous issue for Hart, in the view of Pep Guardiola.
Those concerns turned out to be nonsense, of course. Packie Bonner is right; Joe Hart deserves more headlines for Celtic, and has been crucial to what the manager wants from his team.
Setting the tone from between the sticks, Hart is a bona fide leader. When called into action, he’s still more than capable of making breathtaking saves, but it’s his influence that perhaps stands out most.
At just £1m [Sky Sports], he might be one of the best value signings made in the summer anywhere. The impact he’s had has been huge.
It’s great to see Packie Bonner backing him, too. Although history hasn’t been as kind as it ought to on Bonner, he was a world-class goalkeeper in his day. Putting the spotlight on Joe Hart and what he’s accomplishing at Celtic is absolutely correct.