JOE HART admits he is going into the unknown as he prepares to call a halt to his eventful 20-year career.

The 75 times-capped England international keeper will be 37 by the time the season comes to a conclusion.

A Scottish Cup Final showpiece at Hampden on the iconic date of May 25 would be the perfect setting for Hart to hang up his gloves and say farewell to Celtic after three extraordinary years at Parkhead.

The popular netminder was in danger of becoming one of football’s forgotten men after losing regular first-team status at Manchester City, playing a season with Verona on loan and then moving to West Ham in a similar switch.

He joined Burnley in 2018 and rarely figured before leaving for Spurs two years later. Former boss Nuno Espirito Santo made it clear he had no intention of playing him in the top side.

WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Joe Hart has the backing of the Celtic support.

Only a few weeks after arriving at the fallen champions as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor, Ange Postecoglou, ironically the current team coach at the London club, fired out an SOS for a new shotstopper and Hart accepted the challenge.

The Greek-Australian gaffer hadn’t been impressed by Vasilis Barkas or Scott Bain and brought in the experienced campaigner on a three-year contract with a cut-price £1million exchanging hands between the clubs.

Hart has practically been an ever-present since his quickfire debut away from home in the Europa League qualifier against Czech outfit FK Jablonec on August 5 2021. The Hoops won 4-2 and the keeper took to social media to apologise to the Celtic fans for the goals he conceded.

He said he was sorry for signs of rust and he would get better. The last line of defence has kept his word and played an impressive role in the instant turnaround in the fortunes of the team.

Hart has won back-to-back Premiership titles, two League Cups and one Scottish Cup. With five league games to go and the champions leading the table by four points, he is on the brink of pulling off a hat-trick of crowning achievements.

HART TO HEART…Joe Hart demonstrates his feelings for Celtic.

He will face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday afternoon as he aims to take a final curtain call in style.

The Englishman accepts he is about to step into a void, but insisted he will NOT change his mind about retiring.

Hart  said: “It will be a big miss. I want to leave the place in as good a place as I possibly can. I’ve been lucky to be part of this. I don’t take it for granted. But it’s someone else’s turn.

“I will soak it up, but I’ve always soaked up every moment. Even when I was on the bench at Burnley and West Ham.

“That are moments in your life. The most important moments are now. And I have a job to do. I have said since I came up here and talked about potentially winning things.

“I would love to sit down and say face to face how I feel at the end because it’s happened. Until then, I don’t know.”

The thorough professional, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I think I’ll still be a player in my head for some time. It’s going to take me a good while to come out of this mode.

“I’m probably going to be a strange person for a couple of months, maybe even a couple of years. I don’t know. But I am a footballer, I am a Celtic player – and that’s all I feel and want to feel right now.

“I’ll just keep playing and pushing – and enjoying what I am doing.

“Have I reconsidered? No, I haven’t. I’m very comfortable with my decision. I’m not even going to try to explain, because I can’t. I’m also aware that it’s going to take a long time for me to come out the mode.

“That’s the beauty of doing what I am doing. I want to come through the finishing line hard.”

GREEN FOR GO…Joe Hart shows his true colours.

As the fixtures are ticked off and Brendan Rodgers’ men continue to focus on silverware, Hart added: “We are going hard as we can in every single moment. This was our everything on Saturday against St Mirren.

“It was tough out there. The swirling winds first-half were tough to get to grips with. Second-half, I thought we were superb, really, really good.

”This place, I swear, to still have the feeling like you’ve never won anything. The hunger we feel through the stadium is immense.

“They [the fans]understand their role and even when people show their discontent it’s not to bury us. It’s just to let us know the standard is constant and we felt it. I enjoyed it.

“Patience was really important and it was important we were aware that the first-half probably wasn’t good enough, but we know we can go up a level and keep going.

“Even with us not playing well, we put a lot of pressure on them and put a lot of hard work in to free up the space. I thought the first two goals were exceptional, really important goals.

“Then Adam Idah summed up the impact we got from the bench with a big performance.”

So far so good as Hart heads for a grand finale.

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