Joe Hart looks raring to go for Celtic after missing two games in late 2021
It might have been forgotten amidst the raft of injuries, new signings and a winter break, but Joe Hart missed the last two Celtic fixtures through injury.
Ange Postecoglou, after the St Mirren game, insisted that he wasn’t “resting” Hart. The English shot-stopper had seemed fine in the prior match against Ross County, but was made unavailable in Paisley, and against St Johnstone.
However, the former Manchester City goalkeeper is looking fit and happy in training photos [Celtic FC], and should be fit for Monday night against Hibernian. Postecoglou left Hart’s name out when he listed returning players two weeks ago, but Hart was involved in full training yesterday, alongside Scott Bain.
Hart has had an excellent debut campaign for Celtic. In 30 outings, he’s kept 19 clean sheets [Transfermarkt], and has pulled off remarkable saves both in Europe and domestically.
The 75-cap international has provided real leadership at the back, complimenting Callum McGregor. When the Celtic captain was injured, earlier this season, it was Hart who took the armband. The 34-year-old’s big-game experience and fearlessness in giving instruction has seen Celtic’s defence prove exponentially.
Although Postecoglou described Hart’s injury as “not serious” in December [Scotsman], it was still enough for the ever-present goalie to miss two games.
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Joe Hart one of many on comeback trail for Celtic
All in, barring a few first-team players, the period of recuperation looks to have done wonders for Celtic. Yesterday, Jota returned to full training. James Forrest looks as though he’ll be an option once more. Christopher Jullien was in a bounce game, which is significant.
Ange Postecoglou also described Giorgos Giakoumakis as “ready” in an interview on Greek television.
It’s – generally speaking – a good scene. Of course, Celtic have also added new faces. Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi provide real depth for the Hoops in key areas.
But it feels as if Joe Hart and his sharpness in full training has gone under-the-radar. He’s been an absolutely vital presence for Celtic this season. At £1m, hew may just represent the best value of anyone brought in this season.
Although Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain did fine in Hart’s absence, it was foremost odd to see Barkas there at all. The Greek goalkeeper looks to be on his way this month, if Celtic can find reasonable bids. Scott Bain, the recognised number 2, had a decent game against St Mirren.
The veteran goalkeeper’s presence will be crucial against Hibernian, though. Joe Hart made key saves in the last meeting between the sides, in the Premier Sports Cup Final.
Hopefully match fit and raring to go, Hart is a bigger boost to Celtic than is being let on.