JOE HART summed up Celtic’s performance in the 2-1 win over Livingston at Parkhead last night in typical forthright fashion.
“It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great,” said the 35-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper on a soggy evening in the east end of Glasgow as the champions restored their nine-point Premiership advantage.
Hart was a spectator for most of the encounter, but was beaten by the opposition’s solitary first-half attempt when his defenders fell asleep in the aftermath of Kyogo Furuhashi’s goal that had made it 2-0 as half-time approached.
HAT’S BETTER…Joe Hart pers through the sunshine during Celtic’s 9-0 win at Tannadice in August.
Nicky Devlin was allowed to cut right through the heart of the rearguard and prod the ball away from the exposed netminder to throw the opposition an unlikely lifeline.
It ended 2-1, but, in truth, the Hoops’ performance was not easy on the eye – a point made in the CQN match report – as they struggled for momentum in the second period with passes going astray on far too many occasions.
Hart said: “We can do better in the first-half, we know that. We were in control and then it was a really strange goal to concede and it was sloppy on our behalf.
“I think we believed when we scored the second, the game was going to open up for us and the manager has told us many times that the moment you think you’ve cracked it, you haven’t and football can hurt you.
“It was a difficult second-half, I thought Livingston hung in well and made it tough for us, but we got the result and we move on.”
Hart, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “We don’t intend the see the game out, that’s not how we play and that’s why I love playing for this team.
HAVE A HART…evergreen keeper Joe expects better from his Celtic team-mates.
“We were 2-1 up and all we were trying to do was score the third, it’s a great mentality to have.
“If we’re not playing to our levels then it gives the opposition chances and that’s what’s happened on this occasion.
“We need to up our levels, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great.”
The Hoops will bring down the curtain on action in 2022 at their home arena on Saturday when St Johnstone are the visitors.
Hart added: “We’ve been the same, win, lose or draw, we move on to the next, we analyse and we put the Livingston game to bed and then we get ready to go on Christmas Eve.
“What a special occasion and it will be a tough game of football and, hopefully, it will be a special game.”
Celtic’s final confrontation of an eventful year will be at Easter Road when they take on Hibs on Wednesday.