Those who want Celtic to stop with all the ‘ones for the future’ and concentrate more on players who are ready now, will be delighted at the prospect of Joe Hart (yes, I know, they will never be delighted). At 34, Joe has the prospect of three years in Glasgow, helping to put Celtic back into domestic contention and into Champions League group stages.
He is 11 months older than Fraser Forster, whose decision to decline Celtic’s contract offer, after agreement was made with Southampton last year, precipitated so much trouble. Neither keeper is at their peak, but Fraser was an incalculable loss, Joe Hart could go a long way to filling the gloves.
After securing star status with Manchester City and being first choice for England for seven years, Joe found himself loaned to Tornio and West Ham, before signing for then-Premier League Burnley, who required stopgap cover. Last season was spent at Tottenham, largely on the bench, although he played 10 cup games.
A high profile fumble against Iceland at Euro 2016 was the Saka penalty of the day, ending England’s participation in the tournament, the incident lives longer in the memory than it would have in a different game. He could have done better with the first of Leigh Griffiths free kicks that sailed past him at Hampden in 2017. These and other circumstances combined to ensure he did not make the cut for the World Cup squad a year later.
I cannot tell you where Hart will perform on the spectrum between Fraser Forster at Hampden in 2019 and Vasilis Barkas throughout last season, it feels over optimistic to expect error-free miracles. Nor is Joe a sweeper-keeper – an element of his game that hampered his ability to move to another top English club after Man City.
His abiding attribute is organisation. Who does what, where and when, has been Celtic’s Achilles Heel in defence for a year, we can be sure this particular element will improve. This, is the reason Joe is currently undergoing a medical.