Manuel Pellegrini recounts experience of working with Celtic 'keeper Joe Hart

By Euan Davidson

September 16, 2021

Real Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini has opened up on meeting his former goalkeeper, Celtic stopper Joe Hart, in the Europa League tonight.

Pellegrini managed Manchester City for three seasons, with Joe Hart being his number 1 for the majority of that time. That said, the Chilean tactician did famously drop Hart more than once.

The first time came in 2013 [Guardian], after a series of mistakes from the then-England goalkeeper. Then, in 2014, Hart was dropped for a game against Hull [Independent].

However, Hart did win a Premier League with Pellegrini. Not only that, the 75-cap Englishman improved to win a Premier League Golden Glove in 2014-15.

Pellegrini said of Hart [Sun]:

“Joe is a leader, the career he has had allows him to be in that position.

“Celtic are a very important team for us” | Real Betis fan Enrique Roldán

“Celtic are a very important team for us” | Real Betis fan Enrique Roldán

“I have a lot of good memories of working with Joe. At that stage he was the No 1 keeper in England and also in the national squad.

“We were together for three years and won the title and the league cup.

“But there were also some moments when, for different reasons, Joe had to go to the bench, as there were performances I was not happy with.

“But even when he was on the bench he would still work for the team, keep talking to the keeper who replaced him to try and help them improve and improve himself.

“And that showed me why he was number one in England for so long. I was very happy and fortunate to work with him in Manchester City.”

Joe Hart will be crucial for Celtic as he goes up against former boss Manuel Pellegrini

For someone with the mentality of Joe Hart, showing up his former manager will work as motivation. Regardless of the respect between the two, it has to add something for the Celtic ‘keeper.

Hart has been tremendous for the Bhoys since joining in the summer. His on-pitch leadership is crucial, while his performances in goal have put any potential doubts aside.

His reactions to keep out Ross County on Saturday, with the game at 1-0, were vital in keeping Celtic’s momentum. The Hoops ran out 3-0 winners, but Hart was important.

Photo by Sharon Latham/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Big saves in Europe, not least against Jablonec, garnered huge applause from the supporters.

Tonight, he’ll be tasked with keeping some dangerous men quiet. The likes of Cristian Tello, Rodri Sanchez, Sergio Canales, Nabil Fekir and Willian José will all be looking for opportunities at goal.

In other news: Ange Postecoglou labels tomorrow a “big opportunity” for Celtic man Albian Ajeti