Pat Bonner highlights how Celtic boss has managed to improve Joe Hart
Celtic great Pat Bonner has highlighted the improvements made in Joe Hart’s game thanks to Ange Postecoglou.
Hart arrived in the summer in a £1m deal from Tottenham Hotspur [The Sun]. It was a move that was initially met with skepticism from fans and pundits who wondered whether he could hack it at the top level anymore. There were also fears over the experienced shot-stopper’s ability to play out from the back, with plenty against the deal.
But it’s fair to say he’s silenced his critics since then. Hart has quickly established himself as Celtic’s number 1 and has made a string of top saves both domestically and in Europe.
And Bonner believes there have been notable improvements in his game since signing in the summer from the EPL too. As quoted by Football Scotland, Pat said: “I think he needed that big move. Joe always makes the big saves. That’s the best part of his game. We’ve seen it already this season at critical moments. Playing for Celtic, in the main, you don’t get a lot of saves to make. The game has changed a little bit now because you are more involved with the pass backs.
“In my day, you didn’t have a lot to do but you had to be concentrated and organising and when the big moment came around you had to make the save. So I think Joe has done that, he’s fitted in really well into that play with Celtic. I think he’s actually improved a little bit with his feet, maybe because there’a demand on him to play with his feet a little bit more.
“He’s playing a little bit higher up the pitch also and he’s controlling that. Those are the good parts of his game that have really come to the fore I think. They needed a goalkeeper and Joe fits the bill quite well for them. He also has a personality that will be good around the dressing room. That’s a real bonus to have that type of character around the dressing room.”
Joe Hart showing improvements as he continues to enjoy life at Celtic
Hart just looks like he’s thriving in Scotland. Not just because he’s a number 1 again, even though that’s bound to help, but because of the responsibility he has on his shoulders. He isn’t just a goalkeeper here – he’s an absolute leader.
If Celtic are to win the Scottish Premiership in 2022, Hart will be a major part of it. Just think of the number of top stops he’s made already this term. Especially in Europe, where we wouldn’t have even qualified for the Europa League had it not been for his performances against AZ Alkmaar.
Celtic fans have rightly grown to appreciate what Joe now offers. He’s earned that level of love and adulation. And you can see the improvements he’s making aren’t just limited to his shot-stopping rate.
Think back to the start of the season when Hart was making error after error with the ball at his feet. He didn’t look comfortable, and it resulted in a couple of clangers it’s fair to say. And whilst he hasn’t perfected the art of distribution, he’s certainly much more composed with it now.
But there’s still so much more for Joe to achieve here. As a dressing-room leader, it’s on him and the other senior players to bask in a new era of trophy-laden success. The League Cup was a good start, but that’s all it was. It’s already forgotten about.
If it does indeed turn out to be a profitable campaign for the Hoops, we know Hart will have played a colossal role in it.