Former Celtic defender Whyte praises Joe Hart; makes Schmeichel comparison

By Euan Davidson

September 23, 2021

Former Celtic and Scotland defender Derek Whyte has praised new Bhoys goalkeeper Joe Hart, and stressed the importance of communication.

Whyte, who played for Celtic between 1985 and 1992 before a lucrative move to Middlesbrough, even made reference to Peter Schmeichel when talking about the ex-Manchester City stopper.

Former Bhoys defender Whyte was part of the Centenary squad, and formed a decent partnership with Mick McCarthy and Packie Bonner. And Whyte said that it’s so important to have a solid foundation of trust between the goalkeeper and two centre-backs.

Whyte said [Football Scotland]:

“I think it’s really important that goalkeepers communicate. They can obviously see the whole picture. They can see everything in front of them and see the whole game. All the best keepers communicate well.

“You look at Peter Schmeichel and his son Kasper at Leicester, they are very vocal and are giving instructions constantly. By doing that, it shows they are concentrating on the game because they are switched right on.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“I didn’t play with many who weren’t good communicators. Ian Andrews was a bit of a disaster at Celtic, but I like goalkeepers that speak to you.

“If you look at the successful sides, look at that triangle between the goalkeeper and two centre-backs. At Celtic, you had myself, big Mick McCarthy and Packie Bonner.

“I think that relationship between the two centre backs and the keeper is really, really important. You need to understand and trust each other.

“I think Hart has been good. He’s a very experienced goalkeeper and he’s looked the part.”

Derek Whyte right to be impressed with Celtic stopper Joe Hart

It’s almost strange to look at Hart and think about how short a time he’s been at the club.

An undisputed leader at the back, Hart has provided real impetus, as well as acrobatic saves, for a defence that had struggled mightily. The difference in quality with the ex-England man in goals is extremely noticeable.

He has, though, had to work with different defensive combinations in front of him. Carter-Vickers and Starfelt are the latest. But with Christopher Jullien coming back in the months ahead, that could change again.

Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images

As Whyte says, it’s very important to have that trust between the goalkeeper and his centre-backs. Thinking of successful sides in the past, you could argue Rab Douglas had a good understanding with Baldé, Mjallby and Valgaeren. Boruc, with McManus and Caldwell.

More recently, Fraser Forster with Jullien and Ajer, in the successful 19-20 season.

Communication is vital. That’s exactly what Hart has brought.

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