JOE HART has played every minute of Celtic’s 15 games this year and is poised to continue the sequence when the champions take on Ross County in the midday kick-off in Dingwall on Sunday.
The 35-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper has had eight shut-outs in that run while conceding eight goals – remarkably HALF of them from penalty-kicks.
Hart, a £1million bargain buy from Spurs in August 2021 on a three-year contract, has become one of the key components in the Ange Postecoglou success story at the Hoops with the club on the brink of clean sweep of domestic silverware this season.
MEDALLION MAN…Joe Hart holds aloft the League Cup after last month’s Hampden triumph.
The Parkhead men have already retained the League Cup, are nine points ahead in the Premiership with nine games to be played with a Scottish Cup semi-final at the end of next month to look forward to at Hampden against Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit.
Republic of Ireland legend Shay Given, winner of 134 caps, is a confirmed admirer of his former team-mate and is convinced the evergreen netminder can be a mainstay at Celtic for years to come.
The ex-Newcastle United shotstopper, who had a stint in the east end of Glasgow before joining up with Kenny Dalglish on Tyneside, said: “I played against Joe a lot and we were team-mates at Manchester City.
“He was the No.1, but Pep Guardiola eventually didn’t fancy him. It was the same for me when Roberto Mancini didn’t fancy me.
“It happens in football. Joe had to go away and rebuild a little bit. He went to West Ham, had a few moves and things didn’t quite work out.
WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Joe Hart has the backing of the Celtic support.
“But it’s nice to see him really settled in Glasgow, he looks right at home now. Joe obviously has tons of ability, but he brings that experience and knowledge to the team, as well. I’ve got no doubt he’s a massive presence in the dressing room.”
Hart spent two years in the twilight zone of the second string at Burnley and Spurs before his move across the border and 46-year-old Given, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It might have been the case Joe didn’t quite know what to expect going to Celtic, but he would’ve found out within a game or two.
“He would have seen just how big Celtic is, not just in Glasgow and Scotland, but around the world.
“There is huge pressure on you to perform and win trophies every year. The place will be unrecognisable from my time there. I was talking to a few of the guys last weekend about the old Jungle!”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE…Joe Hart shields his eyes as he guards the Celtic goal.
Given added: “I played on to the age of 41 and there’s no reason why Joe can’t do the same. He’s only a youngster at 35!
“Knowing Joe, he’s so professional and extremely dedicated. He works really hard in the gym and looks after himself.
“It’s clear he’s really enjoying himself at Celtic. He’ll feel the same way we all did and want to play as long as he can because you are a long time retired.
“But when you look at his performances, there’s no need for him to even think about retiring any time soon.”