'Brilliant condition'; Celtic target Joe Hart lauded by coach who saw him in action this summer

By John McGinley

July 5, 2020

Celtic target Joe Hart has been lauded by former Hoops shot-stopper Jonathan Gould, who is now a goalkeeping coach at Preston North End, The Sunday Post reports.

It was reported by The Telegraph late last month that Hart was on a list of potential replacements for Fraser Forster, should Celtic be unable to complete a deal with Southampton for his return.

That interest has continued to be reported by various outlets over the last week as it became apparent that a stalemate had been reached in the quest for last season’s number one.

However, there are understandable concerns about Hart’s readiness to hit the ground running at Celtic Park.

He hasn’t played a competitive match since December 2018 and had made some high-profile mistakes in the years prior to that.

Gould though managed to see him up close recently and has backed him to be a good signing at his former club.

As quoted by The Sunday Post, he said: “Joe is a free agent just now, and looking for the right opportunity. I’m sure he’d be interested in a move to Celtic if the club wanted him.

“Before the season re-started a couple of weeks ago, we played against Burnley in a closed-door friendly and he was still in brilliant condition.

“As far as I’m concerned, he is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world and just needs a chance.

“He is hungry to do well. He’s only 33, and still has seven or eight really good years left in him. Maybe the right deal for all parties will be for him to go to Celtic.”

Gould’s comments demonstrate that despite sitting in the shadows Hart remains as professional as ever.

That, coupled with an apparent hunger to succeed, sounds like the basis of a potential rebirth in Glasgow.

Celtic’s goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods has a track record of improving goalkeepers and revitalising their careers.

He was instrumental in bringing Craig Gordon to the club back in 2014 and helped the Scotland international rebuild a career that was on the brink of ending.

Will Joe Hart be Celtic’s next number one? / (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

He was also crucial in the formative years of Fraser Forster’s first stint at Celtic, again helping him regain his focus and form last season after a spell on the sidelines at St Mary’s.

You’d be silly to bet against him doing the same with Hart if the club do indeed make their move.