AFTER just three games into his career as Celtic maager, Ange Postecoglou realised the team urgently required a new goalkeeper.
The Greek-Australian had seen £4.5million Vasilis Barkas present FC Midtjylland with the equaliser in his first competitive game, a dismal 1-1 Champions League qualifying stalemate at Parkhead.
The most expensive netminder in the club’s history, bought by Neil Lennon from AEK Athens the previous summer, was ditched for the return in Denmark with Scott Bain taking over in the 2-1 extra-time loss.
The former Scotland international No.1 kept his place for the Premiership opener against Hearts at Tynecastle and once again the Hoops toppled to a 2-1 loss.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Joe Hart and Ange Postecoglou with the Premiership silverware.
Hart answered the SOS to quit Spurs in a cut-price £1million deal and made his debut only 48 hours after arriving in Scotland. He apologised for being “a little rusty” as Postecoglou’s side beat FK Jablonec 4-2 in the Czech Republic in a Europa League qualifier.
The shotstopper was there to stay as he helped the team to the Premiership and League Cup double in his first season and was a pivotal figure last time out as the Hoops claimed a phenomenal world record eighth treble.
The double-act parted company shortly after he 3-1 Scottish Cup Final win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on June 3 with Postecoglou ironically joining Hart’s former London club.
Reflecting on the split, the 36-year-old much-decorated one-time England World Cup star told Celtic YouTube: “You go through all sorts of emotions, don’t you?
“I really got on with and appreciated Ange as a person. I really, really respect him as a coach and as a manager. He’s exceptional, one of the best I’ve worked with.
CHEERS AND CHEERIO…Joe Hart splashes the bubbly as Ange Postecoglou holds aloft the Scottish Cup. It was the last action between the two great characters at Celtic. Callum McGregor joins in the celebrations.
“I‘ve said it before, you know what football is like. There are times when things shock you and sometimes when you are emotionally taken by something.
“But the next day rolls on and, once it’s official, the new manager search goes on and everything changes. You adapt and you go on.
“I’ve spoken to him and wished him all the best. I’d like to think that is something, in five or 10 years’ time when we bump into each other, we can talk about.
“But right now he has work to do and it’s the same here.”