JOE HART has conceded 37 goals in 17 European games since making his Celtic debut in the 4-2 win over FK Jablonec in the Czech Republic two days after signing in August 2021.
The 36-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper has been in direct line of firing squads from teams such as Real Madrid, Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen since his bargain £1million switch from Spurs.
Hart is prepared to go again as the Hoops commence this season’s Champions League Group E campaign against Dutch title winners Feyenoord in Rotterdam tonight.
SCREEN GEM…Joe Hart faces the media in Rotterdam. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
The experienced netminder, who has had three successive Premiership shut-outs against St Johnstone, Michael Beale’s Ibrox side and Dundee, made his first-ever appearance in Europe’s elite competition for Manchester City against Napoli back in 2011.
Now he is ready for the rigours of action in the noisy De Kuip stadium in his FORTY-SIXTH outing in at this level.
Hart is up for the challenge and said: “We’re ready to go at it. I’ve only been here for two full seasons and played in Europe both times and we feel like we’ve been as prepared and strong as we could be and I feel like that now.
“We’ve got a really hungry group of players and we want to do well and we have a club and support network that wants us to do well. We’ve all got to link arms and go for it.
“They are special nights and the football seems to change and the speed of the game is electric.
“The hype is real, the competition lives up to it.
“Every year, there is amazing football being played, the match-ups are breathtaking and it’s a great competition to be part of.”
In fact, Hart’s first experience in European football dates back to 2008 and the old UEFA Cup with the Etihad club.
WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Joe Hart with the Celtic support at Hampden during the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final win over Inverness Caley Thistle in June to seal the club’s world record eighth domestic treble.
The in-form netminder is a veteran of football on this platform and, speaking to Celtic TV, the popular Hoops No.1 added: “The competition is going to be tight and there will be lots of styles, but it’s about taking chances and defending your box as best you can when you come under pressure.
“It’s quite a simple formula. We train and work hard and we will give it our best.
“It’s truly a joy to still be part of this competition.
“I don’t think I’ve ever set myself goals because I’m a very present person, but if you asked me if I thought I would be doing this at my age then I would have struggled to give you a definitive yes.
“I feel like I should be here and I love being part of this team and I can’t wait to take it on.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Feyenoord v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.