JOE HART, at the age of 36, is looking for his first treble of football honours.
The 75 times-capped England international keeper celebrated becoming a Century Bhoy by locking out Hearts in Celtic’s 2-0 win at Tynecastle at the weekend to seal their second successive title.
It ensured Hart, a £1million arrival from Spurs in the summer of 2021, his fourth medal since joining the Ange Postecoglou revolution at Parkhead following the previous championship triumph and a pair of League Cup victories.
JUST CHAMPION IN THE CAPITAL…Joe Hart and skipper Callum McGregor acknowledge the Celtic fans after the 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle that sealed the second successive title.
Now the evergreen Hoops No.1 is looking forward to his 101st appearance at Ibrox on Saturday afternoon with a Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle looming on June 3 when the curtain could come down on Celtic’s eighth domestic clean sweep of silverware.
However, Hart is taking nothing for granted and insists nothing is guaranteed in football.
The reliable netminder signed a three-year deal on August 3, jumped on a flight to the Czech Republic to catch up with his new team-mates to make his debut 48 hours later against FK Jablonec in the Europa League qualifier.
The Hoops won 4-2 and Postecoglou’s latest signing apologised for being a little rusty and he would sort it out. He has been as good as his word.
Asked if he had foreseen the transfer working out in such a manner, Hart answered: “No I didn’t. But I didn’t envisage it would be better or worse. I didn’t think anything.
GRINNING AND WINNING…Joe Hart is enjoying life as a Celt.
“I just thought what a great opportunity, get me on that plane, get me part of this club and let’s see what I can do. Like I say, I didn’t have anything for it to surpass. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not me saying it isn’t special.
“It’s really special to be a part of and I love being part of it and I’m well aware the fact that winning makes it even better. I’m an old dog in this game and the fact I am having to stay on my toes, still wanting more and trying to improve is a great feeling.
“And it really makes me feel alive.”
Hart savoured the celebrations at Tynecastle at the weekend and, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “They are special moments, aren’t they? You can’t take these things for granted.
THINK ABOUT IT…Joe Hart has a message for the men in front of him.
“It’s an amazing club to play for and to be champions, personally, two years in a row is a great feeling. I’ve never done that before. Manchester City had a gap last time we won it down there.
“It’s not through lack of effort. Every team that I’ve been in has had good intentions, but I think we have improved, which is a really strong thing to build on having been champions. We have improved from there and everyone has got the attitude that they want to improve, so it is good to be around.
“It’s hard to describe. You just have to be in it because I know from experience tomorrow is just another day and we’ll go again.”
The relentless demands at the champions are welcomed by the shotsopper who admitted: “Yeah, especially me as an older player.
“When you are younger, I have been successful and you feel like the world is yours and it’s never going to end. But I know we’ll wake up and we are going to have new goals and new opportunities.
WE’LL SUPPORT YOU EVERMORE…Joe Hart has the backing of the Celtic fans.
“There is no point in working hard for something if you are not going to enjoy it when you do eventually get it. But then we go again.
“I know nothing is promised in football. It’s really not. Next year is not promised. The Cup Final is not promised. We are going to have to work damn hard this week because we have a big game next.
“But I think it is important to enjoy it with the fans and the team and build on it to try and get as many opportunities to do that again.”
Asked about his thoughts on Postecoglou, Hart added: “A huge impression. He’s top. He’s really, really good.
“He’s very clear on what he wants and I think the biggest buzz for me is that I am playing for someone who is pushing me and I’m learning new things every single day.
RISE AND SHINE…Joe Hart confidently clutches a high ball as Scott Arfield challenges.
“There’s no point trying to compare him or us to anyone else. This is the team we have got and the manager we have got.
“But it’s great to be a part of and great to be constantly pushed and get results from it.
“It’s all very well, there’s plenty of managers out there who will push and it doesn’t necessarily work or players don’t adapt, but credit to the players and the staff we have been able to pull in the same direction and get results.
“I love being part of that. I have played in different teams that have been successful and identity in football has kind of always been there. But in terms of having a real way of playing, this is the first time that I’ve been a part of a team with a real way of playing.
THE KEEPER, THE MANAGER AND THE REWARD…Joe Hart poses happily with Ange Postecoglou as he grasps last season’s Premiership trophy.
“We live and die by it. And I love that opportunity. There has been many managers and coaches out there I’m sure who have said: ‘This is the way I want you to play and, if it doesn’t work, it’s on me’. I’ve heard that many times.
“But I genuinely feel comfortable making risky passes, short passes. And if someone does miss a pass, or gets tackled and the ball goes in, I don’t think any of us would even flinch.
“That’s because it is what we are being asked to do, we believe in what we’re being asked to do and we are enjoying trying to get better at it.”