Joe Hart rejects media excuses for rivals with brilliant Celtic answer about Sunday

By John McGinley

April 15, 2022

Joe Hart has insisted Celtic hold no advantage over Rangers going into Sunday’s match at Hampden simply because they played 120 minutes on Thursday night.

Much has been made of Rangers’ exploits against Braga and how draining they must have been ahead of a crucial derby.

However, Hart wasn’t in the mood for letting them off the hook in that regard, telling a press conference today when asked if there was an advantage for the Bhoys: “Not really because we’ve done Sunday to Thursday and we felt good going into either of those games.

“They’re professional athletes – they’re built to play twice a week just like we are. I’m sure they’ll be prepared as they need to be.”

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Hart also said about the magnitude of the derby: “It’s an important game. Every game is huge. There are a lot of implications to all the matches we’re taking part in, Sunday is no different.

“We’re just trying to win each game as we go. That’s been the process as soon as we’ve got here. The manager has made the point it’s about stamping our football on the match and our intensity. We feel that’s enough to put us in a good place.”

For me, Rangers are big boys. This is the nature of modern football when you’re looking to compete across multiple competitions.

They don’t get a free pass on Sunday just because of the energy-sapping nature of an emotional quarter-final win in extra-time.

“Celtic are in a really strong position, the pressure’s all on Rangers” | Jackie McNamara on 67HH

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“Celtic are in a really strong position, the pressure’s all on Rangers” | Jackie McNamara on 67HH
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If anything, they could be taking extra confidence into this game that they might not have otherwise had. Adrenaline alone will surely help them get through a one-off knockout tie against their biggest rivals.

So, Hart is spot on here. Celtic aren’t going to be distracted by potential advantages. They’re going to imprint themselves on the game and focus on their own football. That’s the clearest way to victory.

Having calm heads in the dressing room like the goalkeeper’s will be crucial.

In other news, Confirmed: Giorgos Giakoumakis to miss Celtic derby semi-final.