JOE HART completed a personal silverware hat-trick in the 2-1 Viaplay League Cup Final triumph over Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit at Hampden on Sunday.
The 35-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper looked to be in the twilight of his career before his £1million switch from Spurs to the Hoops in August 2021.
His future appeared to be mapped out with a rare first-team appearance for the London club as understudy to French World Cup No.1 Hugo Lloris.
HART-STOPPER…keeper Joe Hart is a proud Celt as he holds aloft the League Cup.
Ange Postecoglou, after watching Vasilas Barkas and Scott Bain in action in his first three games, listed a new netminder as a priority and the former Manchester City star answered the call.
The popular shotstopper’s first medal arrived four months later in the 2-1 League Cup Final victory over Hibs and he also played an integral role in the Hoops reclaiming the Premiership title after the previous term’s massive disappointment.
Reflecting on his latest success, Hart said: “There were moments when we had to be strong, moments when we had to play with quality, moments that we had to keep our heads, and we did, and we ultimately dug in.
“It could have been more, there’s no doubt about it, but also with respect to the opposition, they pushed us hard and if they had equalised I don’t think it would have been completely against the run of play, but it was a good game to play in.
“There was a lot of heart. We all pull in the same direction, and I think that’s key.
MEDALLION MAN…Joe Hart with his third Celtic honour.
“Obviously, people will look at last-ditch tackles from Cam and Carl, Greg and Ally, but the boys are battling up top – Kyogo and Big Oh when he came on, Daizen, Jota, Liel, Haksa – they’re not giving anyone a moment to get their heads up and if they do, they know they have to be quick and they have to be perfect.
“If their ball isn’t good enough, then the boys further back are going to be latching on to it.”
As he enjoyed the triumphant and emotional celebrations at the national stadium, Hart, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I love it, it’s such a special moment and such a special feeling to share it with team-mates, fans, family.
“Anyone who takes this for granted has got to be living some sort of life because it’s a great moment.
“Both sets of fans back their team, so they’re going to talk it up and talk their team up, but, ultimately, one team’s got to lose.
WAIT FOR IT…Joe Hart and his Celtic team-mates stand by as Kyogo Furuhashi prepares to lead the celebrations.
“But that’s the beauty of the city – two very passionate supports and I love playing for the green and white side. I absolutely love performing for them.”
Hart added: “Ange pushes it regularly that we’re not just playing for each other, we’re not just playing for ourselves, we’re not just playing for our family.
“We’re trying to represent this club respectfully and put our name somewhere in the history.
“We all just take part in little moments and when the light is shining on us, we just try and bring success and happiness.”
"Look at this, Look at it! It's special!" – Joe Hart gives an interview with You'll Never Walk Alone being belted out in the background by the Celtic fans 🍀pic.twitter.com/hvzxIxf5ZQ
— 🍀 Celtic1967.com 🍀 (@Celtic1967_com) February 26, 2023