Shay Given shares what's he's heard about summer Celtic signing behind-the-scenes

By Euan Davidson

December 18, 2021

Irish goalkeeping legend Shay Given has given Joe Hart some Celtic backing, and hears he’s a massive influence behind-the-scenes at Lennoxtown.

Given battled with Hart for the no1 jersey at Manchester City, towards the end of his career. At the start of his long-tenured and successful playing career, though, Given was youngster at Celtic, but didn’t quite break through, instead playing his entire career in England.

Both Hart and Given amassed serious minutes for their countries. Given ended his career with 134 caps, and Joe Hart has, at the time of writing, 75.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Given, in his assessment of Hart, said that there will have been Celtic fans who doubted Hart, but the former England keeper has answered every critic. And, Given has heard that Hart is having a huge influence in dressing room.

The Irishman, who also played for Newcastle United and Aston Villa, said of Hart [Sun]: “Some folk in Scotland might have wondered if he’d go up there and give it the big one, come across as arrogant.

“However, Joe has been exactly the opposite. That’s one of the big reasons he’ll be a very popular figure in the Celtic dressing room.

“If you look at the person Joe is, I think he’s got a lot of qualities. I also think that he is great in a changing room. I hear he’s brilliant in the Celtic squad, a big leader.

“Joe’s had so much big-time experience he’ll take the final in his stride. I’m sure he’ll also be inspirational for the rest of his team with his approach. I’ve got no doubts a winners medal at this stage of his career will mean as much to him as anything else he has ever achieved.

“I really hope Joe and Celtic are winners on Sunday.”

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Shay Given emphatically backs Celtic shot-stopper Joe Hart

If only we’d have held on to Shay Given. Instead, the Premier League saw the best of the Irish international, an agile and courageous goalkeeper with incredible reflexes. That Celtic let him go remains a head-scratcher.

But what we have now in Joe Hart, is a player who exudes confidence and experience. The difference in the Celtic defence since he arrived has been enormous. With goalkeeping issues hampering the club so emphatically last season, having a confident Joe Hart in goals is a magnificent upgrade.

As for the doubters – yes, he’s shut every one of us up. And I won’t be alone in suggesting I’m happy to have been so wrong!

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

There are so many subplots as we reach the Premier Sports Cup Final, for sure. It’s Ange’s first European domestic final. For many of the players, their chance for a first medal. For everyone at the club, a real chance to lay a marker after the doldrums of last season.

As for Joe Hart, a winner’s medal would be symbolic of the great choice he made coming to Celtic, how he’s become a number 1 again, and answered his critics.

You’d trust him to give everything tomorrow.

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