Sutton on why Celtic produced while Rangers collapsed when heat was on

Chris Sutton reckons that Brendan Rodgers should be having a quiet word with Joe Hart to ask him for one more year as the first choice Celtic goalkeeper.

 Joe Hart celebrates after the victory in the penalty shoot out in the Scottish Cup Semi Final between Aberdeen and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 20, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That’s a view that many supporters are now talking about themselves but it’s hardly a realistic option as the former England goalkeeper has clearly made up his mind that this is the right time to hang up his gloves and look to future opportunities which you would imagine will be many.

Sutton does make a good case for an extra-year from Hart but it would take 60,000 supporters chanting ‘ONE MORE YEAR’ this afternoon to get Hart to listen and even then it’s extremely unlikely that Joe would have a change of heart.

 Joe Hart of Celtic applauds the fans after the Champions League match between SS Lazio and Celtic FC at Stadio Olimpico on November 28, 2023 in Rome, (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Joe Hart knows his own body and although he has led the way in the closing months of the season with some outstanding form, he’s maybe been getting the last ounce of what’s left in the tank and giving it all to Celtic in these closing months of the season and in his own playing career.

So putting that to one side, Sutton in his newspaper column in Daily Record this morning made some pertinent remarks about the difference between the two title contenders this season in the Scottish Premiership and highlighted his old adversary Todd Candwell for some TikTok criticism, comparing and contrasting with the way that the experienced pros at Celtic have behaved and performed to get Celtic across the line in some style.

“Rodgers will know it’s hard to find leaders like Hart. In fairness, Celtic have a few of them – and that’s why they are champions. I look at the likes of McGregor and Forrest – along with Hart – and they are the ones who stayed calm and produced when the pressure was really on.

“Then I look at (the)Rangers and you can see why they collapsed when the heat came on and ultimately fell short. You see Todd Cantwell’s goal celebration the other night in front of all those empty seats at Ibrox,” Sutton said.

“He should have been keeping the head down after his side’s failure, not drawing yet more attention to himself. I think back to the social media stuff with the 56 on his shorts – with reference to the title. The likes of McGregor and Forrest have done their talking on the pitch – not on their shorts.

“That has been the key difference for me over the course. It’s not been a vintage season for Celtic by any means. There have been difficulties and hurdles along the way. But they’ve done it when it mattered in the big games and are deservedly champions.”

Sutton also responded to Brendan Rodgers hitting out at his critics, one being Sutton himself, who claimed shortly before Christmas that Rodgers seemed to be going through the motions. Sutton though reckons that the criticism was valid at that particular time.

“Rodgers has been giving a bit back to the critics and he’s absolutely entitled to do so. The criticism at stages of the season was perfectly valid as well, as recruitment wasn’t great, Europe wasn’t a success and some of the games were a tough watch,” he argued.

“But you have to take your hat off to Rodgers for the way he steered the side through the problems and then put the foot down at the most crucial time. He had big calls to make in the final few months of the season and didn’t put a foot wrong.

“Even look at Wednesday night at Kilmarnock. That should have been one of those horrible, scrappy 1-0 wins, just about getting the job done.

“Instead, Celtic were devastating. It was arguably the best display of the season. The decision to pitch in Idah was inspired and it worked an absolute treat and it was almost like everything Rodgers has been searching for this season came together over the 90 minutes.

“They are flying and confidence will be through the roof heading Hampden for the Scottish Cup Final. It will be billed as Hart’s big farewell – but it doesn’t have to be.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

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