John Hartson brilliantly uses Allan McGregor howler to back Celtic's Joe Hart

By David Walton

October 21, 2021

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has brilliantly used the Allan McGregor howler last weekend to big up the influence of Parkhead’s own Joe Hart.

Hart has made an impactful start to his Celtic career after instantly becoming Ange Postecoglou’s number 1. He’s proven to be a notable improvement on Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain, whilst also showing his leadership qualities both on and off the pitch.

However, his time here hasn’t gone without incident. One of the main criticisms before he arrived was that he can be too prone to the odd blunder. His mistake against AZ Alkmaar in particular the standout one so far.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

But Hartson has defended those who use his rare mistakes as a stick to beat him with. And speaking on the Go Radio Football Show last night, the Welshman brought up McGregor’s howler against Hearts:

“He has an awful lot to offer. He’s still a very, very good goalkeeper – a former England goalkeeper. For me, he makes crucial saves at the right times. And what goalkeeper doesn’t make mistakes? One of the best in Scotland Allan McGregor made one at the weekend!

“When you’re the goalkeeper, you’re the last man. It’s okay for defenders and forwards to give the ball away. Allright, not so much defenders, but you’ve still got the goalkeeper who can make a save for you. When you make a mistake as a goalkeeper, it ultimately leads to a goal.

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“But in terms of his signing, he’ll be brilliant for the younger 2 goalkeepers, Barkas and Bain. Great experience, and he’s made some big saves already this season. So he’s now just come for the ride and the wages, he’s signed a 3-year contract and he wants to win things. The way he’s going he can certainly help Celtic do that.”

Celtic need to have major patience when it comes to defensive errors

Many Celtic fans have shown brilliant patience so far with the Hoops defence. That’s been crucial and it’s proven to be via the 3-game winning run we’re on and back-to-back clean sheets. Celtic went from looking like conceding every game to all of a sudden solidifying and looking a lot stronger at the back.

Interesting that it’s come with the same personnel too. Postecoglou has been keen to stick by both Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Quite right too. They’re both his signings and you would’ve expected that to be the case.

Hart has been a part of that. There were times during his first few games at Celtic when you wondered if he was going to be the answer. But like the rest of the backline, patience has been a virtue. All of a sudden he looks like one of the signings of the summer.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Right now there are certain players who, when errors are made, get called out more than most. Starfelt, for example, gets highlighted every time he makes a loose pass and yet nobody talks about when Kyogo missed several sitters against Bayer Leverkusen.

Hart falls into that category. If he makes a mistake, and it would likely lead to a goal, he’s targeted for it. Certainly more than some others in the team. But like others, patience has allowed us to see exactly what Joe brings to the football club.

And McGregor’s howler against Hearts that led to Craig Halkett netting on Saturday shows just how easy it is to make a blooper.

In other news, Watch reported Celtic target Jed Wallace’s crazy Tuesday goal for Millwall