Kyogo Furuhashi may be the man of the moment in a Celtic shirt but with three clean sheets in his last four games Joe Hart is quietly going about his own business.
Considering the Bhoys are still showing some signs of their defensive vulnerabilities which cost them so dearly last season, three shut-outs in the last four outings is all the more impressive.
That should do wonders for the confidence of former England number one Hart, whose Scottish Premiership venture could turn out to be the perfect remedy for his ailing career.
What Happened To Joe Hart?
Goalkeepers are a sensitive bunch and ever since Pep Guardiola ruthlessly bombed him out of Manchester City in 2016, Hart has struggled to find another home.
Over the past five years, spells at Torino, West Ham, Burnley and Tottenham have all failed to amount to anything other than a footnote in Hart’s storied career.
But what better place is there to rehabilitate than Paradise? Aged 34 and with a three-year deal to his name, Hart finally looks to have moved on from that erroneous end to his 12-year City stint.
“I think it’s a fantastic move for him at this stage of his career,” former England and Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson told Gambling.com.
“His career has been a bit stop-start of late but I think this move shows you the type of character that he is having taken a wage cut to go up there at his age to play for such a fantastic club.
“The support base of that club and the opportunity to be part of something new with the new manager there and to play in front of that crowd every week at Celtic Park is an amazing opportunity.”
Big Game Player
Hart often reserved his best Man City performances for European nights and in Thursday’s Europa League playoff he made a crucial save from AZ Alkmaar’s Vangelis Pavlidis before Celtic went on to take a 2-0 lead in the final qualification round.
They may be 100/1 outsiders in the outright betting on the tournament, but given the famed weeknight atmosphere at Parkhead, Hart can expect to experience European nights like no other now that fans have returned to football grounds.
That’s if they can finish the job in the Netherlands next week of course. Robinson, who retired from the game in 2017, admits a tinge of envy when looking at Hart enjoying a new lease of life in Scotland.
He said: “When I was playing, if I’d have gotten the chance to play for Celtic I’d have taken it, it was always an ambition of mine, and I think for Joe to go there at this stage of his career shows you the type of player he is.
“He doesn’t want his career to peter out on the bench as a bit-part player. This is a fantastic opportunity to go up there and do what Fraser Forster did, which was to leave a lasting impression.
“I think it’s a very astute signing from the manager and it’s a deal that works really well for both parties. I can see him having a really good season.”
New Era At Celtic Park
Indeed, Ange Postecoglou’s Parkhead project is shaping up pretty nicely after a worrying start – a Champions League exit to FC Midtjylland followed by an opening day defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.
The new manager has responded with five wins on the trot in all competitions and bookmakers have reacted to that by cutting their title odds from 7/2 to a more favourable 7/4 since the Hearts loss.
Given this season’s Scottish champions will earn automatic qualification for next term’s Champions League, the financial incentives for both Celtic and Rangers have never been so great.
Postecoglou is beginning to win over the doubters and with their Glasgow rivals already looking less convincing than last season, this title race could be a memorable one.
As for Hart, he knows what it takes to win league titles having won the Premier League twice with City in his prime, which is why the former England international promises to be a shrewd piece of business by the Bhoys.
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First published on: Gambling.com