JOE HART will be in goal when Celtic kick off the Premiership campaign on Flag Day against Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday.

There has been recent conjecture over the future of the 36-year-old 75 times-capped England international who is going into the final 12 months of his Hoops contract.

Hart answered an SOS from Ange Postecoglou in August 2021 after the recently-installed gaffer had ditched £4.5million dud Vasilis Barkas after one game and had failed to be impressed by Scott Bain following two outings, both 2-1 defeats to FC Midtjylland and Hearts.

SCREEN GEM…Joe Hart is the centre of attraction for the film crew as he proudly holds aloft the Scottish Cup after the victory at Hampden in June.

The former Manchester City netminder arrived in a £1million deal from Spurs and became a mainstay as the Parkhead club won five out of six domestic honours during the Greek-Australian’s two-year stay.

A lot has been made that Benji Siegrist started the James Forrest Testimonial Match against Athletic Bilbao and Bain took over for the second-half while Hart remained as an unused substitute.

The reasoning behind the netminder’s no-show is fairly obvious – there is nothing for him to prove to Rodgers whereas the returning gaffer required up-to-date form pointers on the Swiss and Scots custodians.

Hart was always going to be back-up against the Spaniards in case Bain had been injured in the second period. Siegrist, as a subbed player, would not have been allowed to come back on the pitch, so the Englishman was on stand-by in case of an emergency.

Unless Rodgers has a somersault in his thinking, the reliable veteran will be the last line of defence as the champions launch their bid for their twelfth title in 13 years.

BEST FOOT FORWARD…Joe Hart goes through a training routine with coach Stevie Woods and glove rival Benji Siegrist in the Algarve as he prepares for the new campaign.

Croatia’s World Cup Finals hero Dominik Livakovic has been mentioned as his anticipated £8million switch from Dinamo Zagreb to Fenerbahce has stalled.

However, Rodgers, with the assistance of Mark Lawwell and the superb recruitment team, has been getting the business down sharpish this summer with players such as Norwegian Odin Thiago Holm, Australian Marco Tilio, Pole Maik Nawrocki and South Korean duo Kwon Hyeon-kyu and Yang Hyun-jun being introduced with any prolonged preambles.

Chris Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, has an interesting take on the situation as he says: “I would replace any Celtic player if you can get a better one in. That’s what Brendan will be thinking.

“But the Joe Hart thing has grown arms and legs over pre-season. Joe has been a good goalkeeper for Celtic.

“In all honesty, I wasn’t sure about him when he came in. But he’s been a really important part of Celtic’s success and I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get him out the door unless they get someone in who is better.

“There’s been talk about Dominik Livakovic, but the fact it hasn’t happened yet would lead me to believe it’s probably not going to.”

Let’s put this one to bed and allow the manager and his stalwart shotstopper to concentrate on the challenges that lie in store.


Click Here for Comments >

About Author