Joe Hart relaxed on Celtic future as he answers queries over new deal with club
Before Hart’s arrival, Celtic did not have their problems to seek in goal either. Greek internationalist Vasilis Barkas was wholly unconvincing as the club failed to defend the Premiership title in season 2020/21, while Scott Bain and Conor Hazard failed to deputise sufficiently either.
Hart is a humungous upgrade on all three and it is not inconceivable that his stay at Celtic could be extended beyond the expiry of his contract in the summer of 2024. By that point he would be 37-years-old, still a good age for a keeper, but Hart is neither fretting about his future or taking anything for granted. Ahead of today’s league match away at Kilmarnock, he is enjoying the moment.
“I still have another year on my contract, so I don’t really feel that conversation needs to be had,” said Hart. “I’m in a special part of my career where I’m not chasing a contract or worrying about negotiations. It’s not really where I’m at. I’m just loving being part of the football and what will be will be. Conversations like that will probably happen when they need to be had but I don’t need to be knocking doors down and I certainly don’t expect people to be badgering me.”
The role of a goalkeeper in such a winning machine like Celtic is often overlooked. Hart does not have a heap of saves to make each week but it has been well-documented by manager Ange Postecoglou and the rest of the Celtic squad how important his attributes off the pitch are. He is vice-captain to skipper Callum McGregor, inset, and the former Manchester City stopper takes that part of his role at Celtic very seriously.
“Stuff like that means a lot because it’s the kind of thing I like to be associated with,” Hart said of the warm words from both manager and team-mates. “I’m pretty genuine. Cal is obviously an unreal player and a superb captain. He has stepped into a role where he has had huge boots to fill and he has not even tried to fill them – he has gone in his own direction and done a great job.
“I let him know straight from the off – if he needed anything from me that I would be right by his side and ready to help. Hopefully that combination has worked but you would be in a minority here if you don’t come in and want to give your best every day. I love it here. I couldn’t be any prouder to be part of this team, this club and this city. I’m really honoured to put the badge on and work for Celtic Football Club.”
Given the high esteem he is held in by Postecoglou and his Celtic team-mates, it is not out of the question that the former England No 1 could end his career at Celtic. Not that he is seeing that as a certainty. “Of course it’s a possibility but this is a club that is forever trying to move forward and push on,” Hart responded.
“We’ll see. I haven’t actually given it much thought and I don’t know if the cub has. They are a business so they are always going to be thinking about the future. Like I say, I am in a real privileged position to be enjoying every day as it comes and trying to give my best.”