JOE HART will make his last Celtic appearance in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on Saturday May 25.

The 37-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper has enjoyed life on the game’s rollercoaster in two decades of a colourful career.

However, it’s doubtful if Hart has experienced anything like two crazy moments he encountered within minutes at the national stadium in the penalty-kick shoot-out with Aberdeen after the 3-3 stalemate in a rollicking semi-final that came close to bringing on mass anxiety attacks to those who witnessed the spectacle.

Hart took the holders’ fifth penalty-kick and stepped up to place the ball in the knowledge he was one kick away from sealing his team’s place in the showpiece occasion next month.

OOPS…Joe Hart thumps the ball off Kelle Roos’ right-hand post.

The much-decorated netminder strode forward purposefully and then clattered his 12-yard effort off Kelle Roos’ right-hand post.

It was back to the drawing board for Hart as he was forced to rethink his game-winning strategy.

Junior Hoilett walloped a spot-kick behind him before Alistair Johnston stroked the Hoops back into the lead. Jack Milne forced the veteran shotstopper to fish the ball out of his net again before Tomoki Iwata launched Brendan Rodgers’ side ahead once more.

Hart was catapulted from zero to hero when he got to down swiftly to his left to deny Killian Phillips to cement Celtic’s return to Glasgow’s south side next month.

WHOOPS…Joe Hart dives to save from Killian Phillips to kick-start the Celtic celebrations.

On social media, the likeable personality later summed up the occasion as: “Pure carnage. Loved it!”

Asked if he would take a penalty-kick if required in the Cup Final, the daredevil netminder answered: “One hundred per cent. I’ll always put myself forward.

“I think for moments like that you need people with clarity of mind and are confident in what they’re doing. That’s me.

“It sums me up as a player, I’ll always put myself on the line. I fully back myself, the manager backs me, the team backs me. I went through my process and just pulled it too much.

“Fortunately, I’m a goalkeeper and I was able to reprieve myself.”

Hart, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I’ve taken one in a 21s tournament. I’ve not taken one in a professional game before.

“I’m gutted I didn’t score, but we got the win. I didn’t say sorry for missing one to the boys. They believe in me. To have the courage and the confidence to take the penalty in that moment will always be me.

CROWDPLEASER…Joe Hart with the backing of the Celtic support at Hampden.

“I always back myself to save a penalty. I’m a maniac when it comes to penalties. I always feel I can save every penalty and I can score every penalty.

“I don’t and I didn’t, but luckily our penalties were top quality and it gave me enough time to make the right decision.

”It was a pretty wild game. We should have never been at penalties. We should have put that game to bed.

“James scored probably one of my favourite goals of the season and I was hoping that would win us the game. But we got it done, that was the most important thing.”

Looking forward to a dramatic countdown in the race for the Premiership title with the champions three points ahead with five games to go and a Scottish Cup Final added to the list, Hart added: “No doubt it’s on course for an exciting finale.

THUMB’S UP…Joe Hart acknowledges the Celtic fans after the dramatic penalty-kick shoot out.

“However, there’s nothing done yet. There are exciting times ahead. All season, I’ve just wanted to be a part of everything and put myself forward.

“It was disappointing that we went out early in the League Cup, but, other than that, we’ve stayed in there in the other competitions, barring the Champions League.

“We’re going to go right to the wire in the league and then we have a date at the end of the season in the Final.

“We’re in a good spot, we have a strong squad and we just need to keep our focus. We have a good training week coming up and we just need to look forward to Dundee.”


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