CELTIC have been linked with experienced keeper Alex McCarthy who is poised to leave Southampton when his contract expires next month.

The 34-year-old netminder is the same age as Joe Hart when he joined the Ange Postecoglou Revolution in August 2021 in a bargain £1million switch from Spurs.

The popular 75 times-capped England international No.1 has already announced his retirement after turning 37 last month.

Hart will bring down the curtain on a marvellous three years at the Hoops when he faces Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side in the Scottish Cup Final showpiece at Hampden a week on Saturday.

THE FINAL FLING…Joe Hart is preparing to bow out in style after the Scottish Cup showpiece at Hampden on May 25.

The guessing game for a reliable replacement is in full swing with Scott Bain likely to remain as back-up while it appears towering Swiss custodian Benji Siegrist, signed on a free from Dundee United in the summer of 2022, will be on the move in the close season.

The name of McCarthy, who has been mentioned alongside the Parkhead club in the past, has come back to the fore, according to a report in the Scottish Daily Mail.

However, Liverpool and Newcastle United are also apparently showing an interest in the last line of defence who has returned to the south coast club’s first team after spending a chunk of the campaign as No.3 in the pecking order behind Republic of Ireland international Gavin Bazunu and Joe Lumley.

Big-money Saudi clubs are also reported to be keen on him.

McCarthy has started only six league games this season, but kept a clean sheet in the scoreless stalemate with West Brom in the first leg of the Championship Play-Off semi-final and will play in the return encounter at St Mary’s on Friday.

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