JOE HART was a rarity among the Celtic players who lost 5-1 to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in midweek to exit Europe for another season.

The 35-year-old 75 times-capped England keeper already had Champions League experience and, in fact, had performed at the world famous stadium with Manchester City in May 2016.

Unfortunately, Hart was also on the losing side back then as the Etihad club lost 1-0 to crash out of Europe’s most prestigious tournament at the semi-final stage.

The veteran shotstopper, though, is eager to get back performing at the highest level and said: “I don’t think you can light the fire any more. It’s something that the club we represent should feel.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHALLENGE…Joe Hart follows skipper Callum McGregor before the match against Real Madrid in September.

“We want to give that little bit more and I don’t think it could make us another more hungry as it’s something essential to this club.

“We’re learning all the time, myself included. I may have played in many of those games, but I think we’re learning as a group and that’s the most important thing.

“It makes us united if we have a common goal and we’ve had that from day one and it’s only getting stronger. Good, bad, indifferent, we analyse it and move forward.”

Hart, who was captaining the Hoops in the absence of Callum McGregor and his stand-in Cameron Carter-Vickers, was blameless as the European champions swept five shots behind him, two of them penalty-kicks from Luka Modric and Rodrygo inside the opening 20 minutes.

Now the £1million bargain buy from Spurs last August is concentrating on today’s visit of Dundee United, hammered 9-0 at Tannadice in August, as the champions bid to open up a seven-point advantage on their nearest challengers who play St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park tomorrow with a noon kick-off.

Hart, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “There’s no danger of complacency, there are certainly dangers when it comes to today’s game and it’s been proven many times.

“It will be a good tough game and there are no guarantees, but it won’t be down to what’s happened recently. It will be down to how we perform on the day and whatever result we get we will fully deserve one way or another.

“It’s pretty simple, we focus game-by-game, that hasn’t been an issue for us as a group. We’re fully focused and we’re feeling good to go.

“We’re going to look to take care of business over the next three games and then worry about the future when it comes.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Dundee United this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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