JOE HART has spent his first two years at Celtic mainly playing behind the central defensive partnership of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt.

After only three games into the new season, the 36-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper has performed with THREE different pairs of players directly in front of him.

In the opening encounter of the campaign – the 4-2 win over Ross County on Flag Day at Parkhead – Hart was behind Carter-Vickers and new Bhoy Maik Nawrocki, who had just been signed in a £4.3million switch from Legia Warsaw.

TWO OF A KIND…Joe Hart with Cameron Carter-Vickers acknowledge the Celtic fans.

Starfelt replaced the former Poland Under-21 stopper late in the second-half in his farewell performance in front of the Hoops faithful before his £5million move to La Liga side Celta Vigo.

The experienced netminder was again behind Carter-Vickers and Nawrocki for the first-half of the 3-1 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie before the USA World Cup pivot was forced off at the interval with a hamstring problem.

Stephen Welsh took his place in the second-half as the champions racked up a second successive league triumph.

A week later against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the first defence of the Viaplay League Cup, Hart was back between the sticks with Nawrocki and Gustaf Lagerbiekle, signed four days earlier from Elfsborg in a £3million deal, forming the duo in front of him with Carter-Vickers and Welsh ruled out through injury.

Brendan Rodgers revealed the shattering news yesterday that the £6million for Spurs star, Nawrocki and Welsh would be all be out for a lengthy period, as CQN reported.

GOOD TO TALK…Joe Hart and Carl Starfelt have a quick confab during Celtic’s landslide 9-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice last season.

Hart is poised to go again with a new double-act as the Hoops gaffer ponders the positions ahead of the home league game against St Johnstone tomorrow.

Lagerbiekle looks to be a certainty with Liam Scales alongside him or there could be another shuffle with versatile Japanese ace Tomoki Iwata coming into the reckoning.

Hart remains philosophical as he prepares for another changing of the back-four guard and says: “We had Gustaf coming in and making his debut and we’re going to have to re-jig a few things, but such is life.

“It’s never perfect and we’re looking to get a strong eleven, and obviously five subs we can bring on at any given moment, so we feel good.

“I’ve had a bit more time with Maik. He’s solid and he’s definitely up for the battle which you need to be up here, but he possesses quality as well. Obviously, we’re disappointed we’re not going to have him this weekend.”

SILVER SMILES…Joe Hart and Stephen Welsh with the main prize, the Premiership trophy.

Later in the afternoon, Rodgers disclosed the full extent of the towering defender’s problem that could see him sidelined for two months.

Hart, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “Gustaf’s a big, strong boy and there’s a great energy about him.

“There’s a huge smile on his face, but he’s someone who, when he gets over the white line, that smile is gone and he’s all about business.

“So, I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops and I’d love to be there to help him.”

Reflecting on last week’s seback in Ayrshire, the evergreen shtstopper added: “Obviously, we were disappointed. It wasn’t a great showing and also to go out of a Cup that we’ve been very successful in recently is disappointing.

“However, there’s another great opportunity this weekend to get back at it and push on in the league.

“It’s a long season with many games, so we just try and stay as consistent as possible and that’s what we’ve tried this week – to get back to what we do best.”

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