JOE HART explained his stance on his goal-line at Feyenoord’s free-kick opener in Rotterdam last night.

The veteran keeper was criticised in some quarters for allowing too much space to his left as Calvin Stengs shaped to take the deadball award 25 yards out.

The Dutch ace hit the ball round the badly-erected Hoops defensive wall – with Kyogo Furuhashi appearing to duck away from the effort – low into the bottom corner of the net with Hart scrambling across his goal in a vain attempt to claw it to safety.

It looked a poor one from the 75 times-capped England international No.1 to concede and he held up his hands to admit it had been “an avoidable goal”.

GOING…Calvin Stengs curls the free-kick goalward with Joe Hart poised on his line.

GOING…Stengs’ effort clears Kyogo Furuhashi in the wall as Hart makes his move across goal.

GONE…Joe Hart stretches in an unsuccessful effort to push the ball to safety.

The breakthrough strike came in the second minute of first-half stoppage-time and sent the Hoops tumbling to another loss on a night of frustration with Gustaf Lagerbiekle and Odin Holm adding to the misery with their red cards in the second-half.

Hart described the first goal as a “perfect storm” after the ball eluded the wall, skidded off the wet turf in front of him and flew in at his left-hand upright.

The £1million bargain buy from Spurs just over two years ago said: “The guy running across Kyogo, causes Kyogo to move.

“As a goalkeeper, you have got to hold your ground, especially when it’s very close to people’s shoulders, you’ve got to wait until it goes past them because you can’t over-commit.

“Once it went past Kyogo, I couldn’t get across quickly enough with the skip and the curl on the ball.

“It’s disappointing, obviously disappointing on my behalf, I’ve got high standards.

“But that doesn’t define the game, there was plenty more to come, and we were going toe to toe with a good team and it felt like we could have achieved something.”

ON THE SPOT…Joe Hart dives to his right to deny Igor Paixao from the penalty award.

The 36-year-old netminder saved a penalty-kick in between the dismissals of his team-mates before being left helpless as the Dutch doubled their advantage in the 76th minute.

Asked if it felt like the same old story for Celtic after a setback in this arena, Hart, speaking to BBC Sport, answered: “At the moment it feels like that, but we are at the start of a new adventure.

“That’s the great thing about football, it always gives you a chance. This is a brand new season, whatever has been, has been.

“It’s a tournament of six games for us and we believe we put ourselves in a good position to play Feyenoord at home. “Obviously, we have got four other games that we need to take care of compete. Now we know one of our rivals in this tournament, we feel like we can definitely compete with them.”

Reflecting on the performance, Hart added: “We had plenty of character, desire and buying into the messages that we are being given.

WELL SAVED…Joe Hart tips over Yankuba Minteh’s powerful drive in the first-half.

“We were in a good game, a close, close game and obviously a few things went against us, some of them self-inflicted, and you fall on the wrong side in this competition.

“But, overall, 11 v 11, I felt like we could have given it a right good go.

“An avoidable goal just before half-time and two red cards make it difficult.”

Celtic are now scheduled to play Lazio in Matchday Two of their Champions League Group E at Parkhead on Wednesday October 4.

The Italians drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in Rome in their opening encounter.


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