Joe Hart lifts lid on Ange Postecoglou's Celtic dressing room scoldings - 'we know it's coming'

Footballers are often accused of failing to appreciate their, often, feather-bedded lot. It is not a charge that could be levelled at Celtic keeper Joe Hart.

The 35-year-old practically recoils when it is suggested to him that it can be forgotten the sacrifices that those in his trade require to make around Christmas-time. Their obligations ramping up when so many of those in the general populace are winding down. “I just can’t see it that way,” said the former England international. “It’s not a sacrifice to play football, for me. It’s a great opportunity. I love playing it and I’ve got a family now who love watching it. Put it this way, I’d much rather be the guy on the field entertaining rather than being sat at home watching.”

Hart offers a singular stance too when it comes to one of the classic tropes about a keeper in his position. It is generally presumed that it must be difficult to stay in the zone when in goal for a team that so little requires any activity from their man between the posts. As was the case the other night, when he had only one save to make - 25 minutes from time - as Celtic produced a wasteful display in seeing off a stubborn Livingston 2-1. Absolute concentration - whatever the circumstances and whatever the little involvement - isn’t an issue for Hart when the game is “a way of life” for him.

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“So it’s not like I’ve got anything else to think about,” he said. “It’s not a secondary job in a Sunday league when maybe your mind would wander to your work the next day. This is everything for me, every minute, or even every second, of the game. So I don’t find it difficult focusing. I can’t even remember not being a footballer. It’s everything. It’s my work life but also my passion. Being a goalkeeper specifically - it’s not necessarily being a footballer as I’m a goalkeeper - is in the way that I think. It’s in the way that I analyse situations away from football. It’s who I am. And as long as I’ve got the gloves on that’s how I’ll think.”

Celtic's Joe Hart applauds the home fans after the 2-1 win over Livingston. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Celtic's Joe Hart applauds the home fans after the 2-1 win over Livingston. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Joe Hart applauds the home fans after the 2-1 win over Livingston. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

How Ange Postecoglou thought of one of the more mundane recent Celtic performances was, in a nutshell, not much. He was unusually scalding towards his attackers for lacking “discipline” and “not doing their jobs” in failing to be in position to capitalise on balls played into the box. His displeasure was communicated in the dressing room afterwards, but that was hardly a jolt to the system for Hart and his team-mates.

“It’s not a side that we don’t see,” said the Celtic keeper. “That’s what we see from him. He expects a lot from us and we expect a lot from ourselves. He’s certainly not going to walk in - after a game when we’ve maybe not taken the chances to put the game out of sight and it’s turned into a difficult second-half - and not say that. I think you guys in the media appreciate that and we do too.

“He’s pretty clear with us and honest with his feelings. He lets us know. But it’s not a shock, it’s not a bolt. We know it’s coming. We know when we are playing well and when our flow is good. But he regularly points out to us that it’s all very well and good to get to a certain height. But the higher you get the harder it is to stay at that level. He wants the best for us. But there are different ways of getting that out of us and he can’t be nice all the time.”

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