“I saw the red. Which was weird. I didn’t really know what to do,” Joe Hart

Joe Hart picked up the one and only red card of his career to-date the last time Celtic played at Livingston back in September and it was who else but John Beaton who sent him off. Hart misjudged a through ball on the plastic pitch and ended up taking out Livingston’s Mo Sangare.

While Beaton maybe could have given Hart the benefit of the doubt, he was never going to do that was he? Hart could have no complaints and anyway his teammates were excellent that day and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, despite playing the majority of the game with ten men.

Yesterday, Joe Hart looked back on that afternoon which will always stand out in his memory at it was his one and hopefully only red card in a long and illustrious career which is now in its closing stages, with the hugely popular Celtic goalkeeper hanging up his gloves once and for all at the end of this season.

“I didn’t know how to play it,” Hart admitted, as reported by The Herald. “I just went and got a drink and sat in the TV room and watched it unfold. It wasn’t something I enjoyed but what can you do? Rules are rules.

“It was really strange. I have a smile on my face because we won, but, I dunno, was it 20 minutes in? We’re 1-0 up, looking very comfortable and playing a good game, I slightly misread a through ball on a pitch we don’t train on as much as maybe would help in that situation.

“Obviously, you have to be wary, but it didn’t surprise me with that pitch. We’ve got an astroturf pitch that we train on and it’s fine margins. I try my best to be on it all the time, all the preparation you can put in, but sometimes things go wrong. That’s just life and I think, as a team, we dealt with it really well that day.

“I got the tackle wrong. That’s the responsibilities of a goalkeeper. I saw the red. Which was weird. I didn’t really know what to do or play it out, but the boys were incredible. Scott (Bain) came on and I thought he was brilliant that day. We really controlled the game and it was an excellent performance with 10 men. Another unique situation.”

Daizen Maeda’s incredible work-rate never fails to amaze Hart and that day in particular the Japanese workhorse covered every blade of plastic grass to compensate for Celtic going a man down.

“He was absolutely superb that day,” the Celtic goalkeeper said. “We work as a team. We couldn’t quite do the same for him when he got sent off against Atletico! But we’re all there to win.

“It’s bodies at the end of the day. We work that hard and train that consistently here that ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s 11, 10 or whoever is on the pitch. We’re looking to execute, and I thought we were excellent.”

One thing that didn’t please Hart was the clip of him celebrating Maeda’s late stunner that clinched the points that day being released, though the Celtic fans lapped up his exuberance.

“That was naughty,” he said. “There was no need for that clip. I was just watching the game and reacting how I would like to react. I know we’re in public and people are free to do what they want. I think that was footage from the live cameras they were setting up for the interviews after. So that was a shame.

“But that was Daizen scoring an absolute banger to make it three. I’d liked to have celebrated with him obviously but that’s what it was. Of course [the fans loved it]. But it’s me. That’s how I am. That’s the truth. It’s a shame as you want to feel comfortable to express yourself in a controlled environment, but that’s modern-day life,” Hart said.

Looking ahead to the run-in and with the squad re-assembling after the international break, Hart reckons that Celtic are going into the remaining segment of the season in very good shape.

“For the majority of us, physically we’re in a good place. A few people are coming back from injuries that they’re having to manage, that’s the soap opera of a football club. There are so many side stories going on.

“But yeah, on the whole we’re in a good spot. Everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Mentally it’s about being together and focused. You can’t just change that focus and narrow in because it’s this time of the season. That has to be a permanent thing here and I feel that it is.

“The line is Livingston. It is getting everyone right and ready for Sunday. That’s our line at the moment and that is all the certainties and what we are focusing on.

“I know what it takes [to win the league]but many people know what it takes. But there’s only one winner. So, it’s about executing,” Joe said.

The big guy is going to be missed.

ON CELTIC SHORTS…Brendan Rodgers calls for return of full allocation at Glasgow Derbies

ON CELTIC SHORTS…Gerry Creaney – He grabbed some glory and lived the dream at Celtic

ON CELTIC SHORTS…“We were all a wee bit gutted to be honest,” Stephen Welsh on Joe Hart hanging up his gloves

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

1 Comment

  1. Joe Hart, now theres a proper goal keeper, regardless of whats been written he will be hard to replace, we dont have to talk him up, his record speaks for itself, hes the “real McCoy” and NOT the “Pretender” to the throne