Joe Hart spoke to the media ahead of our clash with Feyenoord tonight at the De Kuip and was very forthright in his assessment of the situation Celtic are in this year in the Champions League. The Englishman played for the club last year in this competition and endured a mixed time as he had to watch the ball fly past him on more than a few occasions.
The ‘keeper made a major error in one of the group stage matches over in the German city of Leipzig, but he still believes that both he and this current group of Hoops players have what it takes to cut it at the top level in European football.
When talking about his own personal situation, he revealed: “I’ve got respect for the football world. But there are very few people out there whose opinions really matter. After speaking to Stevie Woods and Brendan Rodgers, I know what I’ve got to offer. I offer everything I’ve got. If it’s not good enough for someone, that’s life, so be it.
Hart said: “It hasn’t been good enough before, but it often has. I know from my past as a goalkeeper I’m by no means perfect. If people want to angle in on something specific, they can. But I’ve been around a long time and if you want to make an argument about why I should be in goal, there’s plenty of those too.
“I have to focus on the things I can control. Everyone else is free to say what they want. I feel good mentally and really energised. I’m really enjoying what I’m part of here.”
When quizzed about his current contract and whether or not that will be extended beyond this year, he replied: “I’m very clear. I really love being here at Celtic. But I only deal in certainties and that is that I’m here for this season. It’s refreshing for me not to have to constantly plan my next move or ask my agent when to go in or not go in.
“All of that stuff will take care of itself. I owe it to the club to give everything I’ve got and put everything into what I’m doing. That’s the only way I’m going to get the best out of it and the only way I’ll potentially have a future here anyway.”
Whilst the former Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur stopper knows that tonight will be extremely difficult to emerge from unscathed and with something to show for our efforts, he pointed to the team’s great performance and spirited effort at Ibrox a few weeks back when everyone thought they were done for in another cauldron of an atmosphere.
He added: “It’s going to be tough for us against Feyenoord. It’s going to be a fast game, really exciting.The fine margins will be on show and we need to be on it.
“Nobody gave us a chance at Ibrox, but that was outside of the boys who know, as well as the man who matters. We believe we’ve got quality. The club has an incredible recruitment system and we’re all working hard, whether it’s me at 36 or Gus at 21. That’s what we try to encourage here. Scalesy did his hard work at Aberdeen on loan last season.
“Did he think he’d start the games he has this season? Probably not. But has he shown up and put his body and ability on the line for all of us, absolutely he has.”