Chris Sutton blown away by player Celtic only spent £1m on

By David Walton

November 12, 2021

Chris Sutton has admitted that he’s been hugely impressed by the impact of Celtic number 1 Joe Hart.

Hart arrived in the summer in an incredibly modest £1m move from Tottenham Hotspur [Sky Sports]. The move came after a year of frustration in North London in which the former England goalkeeper only made 10 appearances behind first-choice Hugo Lloris [Transfermarkt].

This season it’s been a different story as the Englishman has gone about trying to reinvigorate his career in Scotland. Hart has already played 22 times this season and has bagged 10 clean sheets too.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

His leadership qualities have burst through at Celtic Park, and Sutton has admitted to being extremely impressed by his impact in Glasgow. Speaking on the Record’s Celtic podcast, Sutton said: “I think he’s done really really well. What he had strongly in his favour was Barkas and Bain have just been so poor in the Celtic goal and it was a low bar. But he’s come in and it’s been a massive boost. Now there have been a couple of errors like at the weekend against Dundee. But I think that he’s brought a calmness and an authority at the back.

“You watched Celtic and with the greatest of respect to Barkas and Bain, everytime they were in goal you thought Celtic are going to concede the goal. I don’t feel the same with Joe Hart and I think that’s an enormous deal. I think his experience has been important. I still have the odd moment when Celtic are playing around at the back and they make a mistake, but there are going to be mistakes just with the consequence of the way Ange Postecoglou wants to play his football.

“It’s high-risk football at the back and Joe Hart is going to come under pressure. He was put down the pecking order at Manchester City because Pep didn’t think he was good enough with his feet. I think that he’s shown he’s okay, that he’s capable, still has his moments but as a whole, I think he’s been an enormous signing and a massive plus for Celtic.”

Joe Hart stats don’t tell the full story; Celtic bagged a major upgrade

So many aspects of football are analysed through the stats. Yet if you were to read Hart’s clean sheet record it doesn’t necessarily blow you away. He’s conceded 23 goals in his 22 appearances, averaging just over 1 goal per game.

However, if you don’t want Celtic regularly, you can’t fully appreciate the influence Hart has on this Hoops team. Let’s start with the obvious one – he’s still a top shot-stopper. Largely, goals we concede are down to defensive mistakes that often leave him exposed. Things that he can’t necessarily be blamed for.

He still manages to make a host of top saves, particularly in Europe. Even though his record doesn’t blow anyone away so far, his performances have been mightily impressive and had it not been for his reactions then we would be in a far worse off position.

Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images

You then have the fact he organises his backline from in between the sticks. Keep an eye on Hart when you’re next at Celtic Park or when we’re defending. You can actively see Hart barking out constant instructions to his backline. He’s the first to let them know about mistakes and it’s clear he demands perfection from those in front of them.

He’s an incredible upgrade on both Barkas and Bain. So much so that there’s not even a debate over who should be challenging him for the jersey. Neither of his positional rivals are capable of coming close to his quality.

Hopefully, it all leads to some on-field success this season. The early signs, however, couldn’t be more promising.

In other news, The unimportant Celtic assets more expensive than Steven Gerrard