JOE HART is one of the best – if not THE best – keeper in the Premiership.

That’s the no-nonsense verdict of Trevor Carson who will be his opposite number when Celtic take on St Mirren in Paisley in Sunday’s High Noon showdown.

Northern Ireland netminder Carson is clearly a fan of the 35-year-old Hoops No.1 and said: “I have nothing but admiration for him and, of course, you look up to people like that.

THAT WINNING FEELING…a proud Joe Hart holds aloft the League Cup.

“It was quite surreal playing against him the first time up here as it’s only six or seven years since he was playing at World Cups, wearing the England No 1 jersey and winning Premier Leagues.

“Now all of a sudden he’s up here and we’re playing against him. What a nice guy he is, though. He always takes the time in the tunnel to ask how you are, and not just with a throw-away: ‘How are you?’.

“He’s genuinely such a nice guy, a fantastic keeper and massive for how Celtic play. He’s brought that winning mentality.”

Carson, 34, speaking in a Daily Record report, added: “He probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but it can be hard playing in that Celtic team.

“You don’t get an awful lot to do in domestic games.

“But the fact he’s not in the papers every week for throwing one in or being a weak link is probably enough for any Celtic keeper.

ON GUARD…Joe Hart watches as Cameron Carter-Vickers slides in to clear from Fashion Sakala.

“You saw in the past with Vasilis Barkas, there were question marks over him and he was hitting the headlines all the time. Joe is not, which speaks volumes.

“He brings a calming influence. He’s one of the best – if not the best – in the league.

“You don’t play that many times for your country if you don’t have big shoulders. It’s a poisoned chalice playing for England. He made mistakes for England, but came back. That doesn’t surprise me.

“He’s gone on to revive his career. It will be a new lease of life winning trophies. Maybe there was a time he thought that might be the good days over.

“It just shows you in football things can change quickly.”

HAMPDEN HAPPY DAZE…Joe Hart salutes the fans after the derby triumph.

Carson conceded nine goals in the previous two outings against the Hoops with the champions winning 4-0 in the league and 5-1 in the Scottish Cup, with both games at Parkhead.

However, he did shut out Ange Postecoglou’s men in the Saints’ 2-0 victory over the visitors in September to inflict the only domestic defeat on the title kings in this campaign.

It was a remarkably lethargic and shot-shy display by the Hoops that afternoon with Carson rarely called into action.

The former Motherwell shotstopper shouldn’t anticipate an action replay.

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