JOE HART has missed only three Premiership games since joining Celtic from Spurs in August 2021.
The 36-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper was forced to serve a one-game ban and miss the 2-1 stoppage-time win over Motherwell earlier this season after his ludicrous red card in the 3-0 victory at Livingston the previous week.
Hart was unwell and sat out the 3-1 success over St Johnstone in Perth on Boxing Day 2021 and was on the substitutes’ bench as Ange Postecoglou decided to to have a look at Scott Bain in the 4-2 loss to Hibs at Easter Road 17 days after the title had been won.
The evergreen shotstopper has proved to be an astute buy at a mere £1million.
NUMBER ONE…Joe Hart has been the undisputed first pick at Celtic since arriving in August 2021.
He has become a fixture in the champions’ line-up, but there could be a No.1 problem on the horizon for Brendan Rodgers as Hart’s contract expires in June.
The Irishman looked at the netminder’s situation in September last year and, as CQN reported, said: “He’s at the age that he’s at, he looks after himself so well.
“He’s in great physical shape, but, naturally, in every position you’re always planning and planning forward, whether it’s goalkeeper, centre-half or centre-forward, you always have to have an eye on the future.”
Four months later, Rodgers is still refusing to rush the situation. Asked if the much-decorated last line of defence could remain at Parkhead without guarantees of first-team football, the boss, speaking to the Daily Record, answered: “Are you going to stay up here without your family if you’re not playing as a No.1?
“Joe’s had a long career and I love being with him every day. He has a real positive energy and has been a great leader for this team. So we’ll have a chat – him and I – towards the end of the season.”
S-T-R-E-T-C-H…Will Dennis is helpless as Matt O’Riley whips a low shot past him, but the ball edges just wide in Celtic’s 2-1 loss at Rugby Park last month.
Rodgers also has Swiss shotstopper Benji Siegrist available along with Bain, but there is speculation the former Dundee United ace could be heading for the exit in this transfer window.
Some names have been put forward as possible summer recruits with Will Dennis among them. The Bournemouth keeper has been in convincing form since arriving on loan at Kilmarnock at the start of the season.
The 23-year-old Englishman has already played in two Rugby Park victories over the champions – the 1-0 League Cup shocker and the 2-1 league setback – and will become a free agent at the end of the campaign when his contract at the Premier League club runs out.