IT has been almost FOUR months since Joe Hart was tasked with retrieving the ball from the back of his net in a competitive game at Parkhead.
The 35-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper is determined to make sure that statistic is not altered after the Champions League Group F opener against holders Real Madrid at a sell-out arena in the east end of Glasgow tomorrow evening.
The experienced Hart has become a reliable netminder since his £1million three-year signing from Spurs in August last year.
He has denied Aberdeen (2-0), Hearts (2-0) and Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side (4-0) this time around in home games.
SAFE HANDS…Joe Hart goes through a pre-match routine as he hones up for the action ahead.
In fact, you have to go back to May 7 when Hart was last beaten at Parkhead and it was Ellis Simms who managed to get the ball past him in only three minutes of Hearts’ visit to Glasgow.
Ange Postecoglou’s men responded with strikes from Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Matt O’Riley and Giorgos Giakoumakis as they won 4-1 while zeroing in on the championship.
The former Manchester City star had a shut-out in the final Premiership outing of the term when Celtic mauled Motherwell 6-0 as they were crowned champions on May 14.
Before Hart’s arrival, Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard had shared the goalkeeping duties in the previous campaign as the Hoops failed miserably in their bid for a historic tenth successive title and completed a wretched season without a trophy for the first time in 11 years.
JOY BHOY…Joe Hart celebrates another Celtic triumph.
After only three games in his debut crusade, new gaffer Postecoglou moved quickly to solve the team’s No.1 position.
Northern Ireland’s Hazard, double penalty-saving hero against Hearts when the Hoops sealed the phenomenal quadruple treble in December 2020, has three months to run of a loan deal with Finnish club HJK Helsinki.
Barkas, a £4.5million misfit signed by Neil Lennon from AEK Athens, agreed a temporary transfer with Dutch outfit FC Utrcht in the summer while Bain has dropped to No.3 in the Parkhead pecking order following the arrival of Swiss shotstopper Benji Siegrist.
Let’s hope it remains home sweet home for Joe Hart and Co around 10pm tomorrow night.
FOOTNOTE: Hart has been beaten only once this season – Alex Iacovetti’s header in Celtic’s 3-1 league win in Dingwall. As well as the Dons, the Tynecastle outfit and the Govan side, Kilmarnock and Dundee United have also been locked out. Siegrist played in the Premier Sports League Cup 4-1 win over Malky Mackay’s Highlanders where, coincidentally, Iacovetti scored the home side’s goal.