Celtic will struggle to replace “top professional”, Joe Hart reckons Bonner

Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner has revealed that his old side will struggle to replace their goalkeeper when the time comes. Of course the announcement was made this week that Joe Hart will be stepping down from his role as number one at Celtic Park as he retires from football at 36-years-old. The stopper has been pivotal in getting the Hoops back on top these past few years and if truth be told, we couldn’t have done it without him.

Joe certainly has gravitas in the game; he’s a former England number one after all. Everyone who speaks about Joe Hart has nothing but good words to say about the Premier League winner and that goes for his last manager Brendan Rodgers, which you can read all about right here in The Celtic Star. Sure enough, Celtic will have difficulty trying to snare that kind of profile of goalkeeper again when the summer recruitment drive comes around.

Hart had a glittering career before he rocked up at Parkhead ready to rock under Ange Postecoglou back in 2021. Signing for a mere £1 million, he’s been worth every penny as far as the Celtic support are concerned and you don’t find value like that in the game much anymore. Just a few years back, the Bhoys forked out nearly £5 million for goalkeeper and you’d have thought he had chocolate wrists, such was his poor abilities in the role Hart now occupies.

That’s the potential minefield that Celtic will have to try and navigate this summer too, Scottish Premiership Champions or not, as Joe will be enjoying some well-deserved down time with the family next season. BBC Scotland pundit and former Ireland international, Bonner, reckons that Hart has been sensational for this Celtic side and has produced when it has mattered consistently during his stay at Celtic Park. “It’s good that Joe has ended any uncertainty over his future,” he said, as reported by Scottish Sun.

“He’s a top professional and now wants to do all he can to make sure his final season here is another successful one with Celtic. Joe came to Scotland and settled a situation at the club that was very precarious. They brought in a keeper, Vasilis Barkas, who had cost big money, and it hadn’t worked out.Celtic needed someone in that position who could provide stability, and Hart’s done that very well over his period here.

“He’s excelled at making big saves at the right time. I’ve a lot of time for him. He’s been great value for what he cost. For his level of experience, in the Premier League and Serie A and for England, a fee of £1m was a bargain. He will be one of the leaders in the Celtic dressing room along with Callum McGregor — and for that reason he’ll also be a big miss. I like the way Hart conducts himself and the way he speaks. On and off the pitch he’s been a leader in every respect.

“Joe’s been a great role model at Celtic — works hard, does all the right things. I’m sure he’ll want his final months at the club to be as successful as possible. Now Celtic have to find a replacement — and how do you fill such big boots? I’m not sure there’s anybody coming through the system. I’m not convinced by the current back-ups. Celtic are going to have to go out and buy somebody, and it sure won’t be easy to find a candidate of Hart’s calibre.”

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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