BRENDAN RODGERS has offered a hint about the future of veteran keeper Joe Hart.
The 36-year-old 75 times-capped England international is out of contract at the end of the season after his £1million switch from Spurs in August 2021.
Hart has featured in every major success since his arrival, but there have been persistent reports since Rodgers’ arrival in June for his second stint as Hoops manager that he is searching the market to strengthen his last line of defence.
WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Joe Hart gets the backing of the Celtic support during the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle on June 3 as the Hoops seal a world record eighth treble.
The Irishman admitted there is a chance of an extension for the netminder who will take up his usual place against Kilmarnock in the Viaplay League Cup-tie at Rugby Park this afternoon.
Assessing the situation, Rodgers said: “I’ve had a couple of good chats with Joe, who has done fantastic.
“The players are still adapting – all of them – to what I’m asking them to do and that’s going to take a wee bit of time.
“There is absolutely no question about his personality. He’s a great guy, very humble. He’s a brilliant shotstopper, a big presence, a great communicator.”
The Hoops gaffer, speaking to The Scottish Sun, added: “There are aspects of his game he’s tried to develop with his feet and accuracy of passing.
“Does he have a chance of staying beyond the end of the season? Yeah. But there are family matters to consider, too.”
BALL BHOY…Joe Hart hits a pass out of defence.
Hart answered an SOS from the Hoops two years ago when Ange Postecoglou, who had just arrived as Neil Lennon’s successor two months earlier, had failed to be convinced with the qualities of Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain.
The former Manchester City No.1 was pitched into the first team two days after signing from the London club and made his debut in the Europa League qualifier against FK Jablonec in the Czech Republic.
Celtic won 4-2 and Hart has been a fixture ever since with Bain and Benji Siegrist, signed on a free from Dundee United last season, as the back-up netminders.
Barkas, a £4.5million misfit from AEK Athens, had his contract ripped up last month and is now at FC Utrecht after spending last season on loan at the Dutch club.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Kilmarnock v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.