Joe Hart on the difference between Celtic defenders and his past teammates

By Euan Davidson

March 19, 2022

Celtic star Joe Hart has played with some excellent defenders in his time.

Vincent Kompany, Kolo Touré, Pablo Zabaleta, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry; all can say they’ve played in front of the former England goalkeeper. When you think of each of those names, you probably aren’t picturing the quiet, sturdy type.

Nope. Each was at some stage a real leader in their respective teams. Players who were constantly shouting and giving instructions, at a very high level.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Joe Hart, then, might’ve become accustomed to having bawlers play in the defence in front of him. At Celtic, he says, he doesn’t have that – but it’s not a problem whatsoever. Instead, the quiet consistency of Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers bring Joe Hart a different kind of assistance.

The former Manchester City goalkeeper, who’s said repeatedly that he was disillusioned with football before coming to Celtic, talked up the rhythm and understanding he has with Starfelt and Carter-Vickers.

Hart said [Celtic FC]: “I think we’ve got really comfortable with each other.

“Both Cameron and Carl aren’t the most vocal of centre-halves I’ve played with. But they’re two boys you can really trust, and really rely on.

“We’ve kind of got a really good rhythm going, we’re there for each other when we’re needed to be. We know, ultimately with the way we’re playing, that we need a lot of options and a lot of angles. We know each others rhythms, which helps, so I think we’re in a good flow.”

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What a superstar Joe Hart has been by the way.

Undoubtedly the stand-out goalkeeper at Celtic, it’s not just his performances that have been outstanding. His attitude has been second-to-none since coming to Glasgow, and his influence on the players around him is surely important.

He’s had to adjust as much as others have had to adjust to him, however. And while Carter-Vickers and Starfelt aren’t necessarily like other defenders he’s played with, that’s no problem. The trio’s understanding has Celtic sitting with the best defensive record in the league, by some distance.

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At home, for example, we’ve only conceded 4 goals in the Scottish Premiership [SPFL]. Two of those came in a 3-2 win over Dundee.

Much as Celtic’s attacking play has been the story of the season, Ange Postecoglou knew it would be for nothing if the Hoops couldn’t have defensive stability. Joe Hart, a veteran presence, has been integral to that. It’s fine scoring goals and entertaining the supporters, as long as we’re not throwing it away at the back.

In domestic competition, solidity has been the watchword.

It’s interesting insight from the Celtic goalkeeper. Joe Hart has been excellent, but he’s also benefitted from the un-flashy, workmanlike performances of the centre-backs in front of him.

So far, it’s working a treat.

Read more: Ange Postecoglou reflects on how Celtic unbeaten run compares to his Australian heroics