“There’s a good competitiveness in training,” Joe Hart on Celtic’s Portuguese pre-season camp

Joe Hart has been around the block it’s fair to say and at 36-years-old, has probably seen it all in the game of professional football. In part, it’s why his addition to the club has been invaluable these past couple of years as we had to start from the foundations again and build upwards after one era at the club came to an end.

Despite the disappointment of that 2020/21 season, we have come back better, bigger and stronger than ever before; laying waste to all who dare disrupt our path in Scottish football. With a League and Cup double secured in Joe’s first year at the club, we went a step further and created history as we won our eighth Treble. A truly remarkable feat and one which Joe and his teammates – as well as the supporters of course – basked in back at the start of June.

But that was then and this is now.

For now, we have a new manager and will see some comings and goings at Celtic Park and we have it all still to do when the domestic calendar kick-off again in August. With a matter of weeks to go before we start another cinch Premiership campaign, Joe has insisted that the hard yards and pain barriers must be tested and ultimately broken if we are to continuing being successful under the returning Celtic boss, Brendan Rodgers.

From his Portuguese training camp, the big man said: “Football’s mad because it doesn’t matter what’s gone before – you start again and you go again with new goals, new competitions. There’s so much to play for but you’ve got to earn it and camps like this are where it starts. I’ve obviously got the privilege of experience, knowing that you haven’t got to be peaking right now, you’ve got to be building and I’m just trying to get better every day, and that’s what we’re doing.

Joe Hart of Celtic is seen prior to the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round Leg Two match between Celtic and Jablonec at Celtic Park on August 12, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Everybody’s starting to get up to speed, especially the boys who came back a bit later. There’s a good competitiveness in training and it is very enjoyable. Winning’s got to be installed in you. That’s in all of us, and certainly in the manager, and why would you not want to win? We’re competing against each other, we’re trying to earn each other’s respect, we’re trying to build under the new manager – there’s so much up for grabs and so much to play for, and every training session is important. It was good, it was tough – it’s warm out here and the lads put a good shift in.”

With a new experience for the club heading out to Asia to visit our Japanese contingent’s homeland, Joe insisted that everyone is excited about the prospect. He added: “It’s going to be an interesting trip. We’ve got time zones and stuff to contend with, but we’re going to try and represent Celtic as best as we can, in a new country for myself. Obviously a few of the boys are going to going home so they’re going to want to make a good impression but, ultimately we’re pushing and we’re trying to build for that first weekend in August.”

Paul Gillespie

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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