JOE HART insists the Celtic players are remaining “fully focused” on bringing success to the club again this season.

The champions have seen their lead at the Premiership pinnacle cut to three points after their 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie while Philippe Clement’s side, who have a game in hand, beat Livingston 3-0 at Ibrox.

The Hoops can be toppled from their pole position for the first time in this campaign if their nearest challengers can beat the Dons by three clear goals in Govan on Tuesday evening.

Brendan Rodgers’ men then have the opportunity to leapfrog their rivals if they beat Hibs at Easter Road 24 hours later.

CELTIC SAVIOUR…Joe Hart denies Graeme Shinnie at Pittodrie.

It’s all getting very tight, an unlikely situation at the beginning of December, but back-to-back losses against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and Hearts in Glasgow plus the disappointing deadlock in the north-east yesterday has invited their city neighbours back into the title hunt.

After what has been commonly accepted as an underwhelming January transfer window – with only two recruits in £3million Nicolas Kuhn and on-loan Norwich City striker Adam Idah – a section of the support again took the opportunity to display their disapproval BEFORE the action got underway against the Dons.

A banner was unfurled among the visiting contingent that flagged up the club’s board with the words: “On your heads be it”.

The mood didn’t get any better when the hosts, who didn’t get into the Hoops’ penalty box even once in the first-half, opened the scoring five minutes after the turnaround through Bojan Miovski with a classic sucker-punch.

Kuhn, who was introduced in the 59th minute for Liel Abada, claimed his first goal for the club four minutes later with a left-foot drive that took a nick off Nicky Devlin’s heel on its way past the stranded Kelle Roos.

Try as they might, the visitors could not get a crucial winner and, in fact, it was down to the 36-year-old England international netminder to produce a stunning save from Graeme Shinnie to prevent a shuddering defeat.

Speaking about the turmoil off the field, Hart said: “It’s not a distraction for the players, not at all. We see it, there’s no getting away from it, it was a decent-sized banner.

A BIG HAND…Joe Hart leads the applause as the Celtic players troop off Pittodrie after the 1-1 draw.

“But that’s for the support and that’s what they need to work out. As players, we stay focused and the management team and staff have a job to do. And we’re fully focused on that.

“Ideally, we win that game 4-0 and everybody’s smiling and everybody’s happy. But it doesn’t work like that.”

The much-decorated shotstopper, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Aberdeen had a lot to prove and a lot to work on after losing their manager recently.

“It was always going to be a tough game. But the support is there for us.

“They travel a long way, as they do in Europe and around the world. We feel that and appreciate it and put our heart and soul out onto the pitch.”


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