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HOOPS LAND BARKAS, HART NEXT?

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GREEK international keeper Vasilis Barkas finalised his £4.5million switch to Celtic this afternoon.

And former England No.1 Joe Hart has been tipped to join the AEK Athens shotstopper at the champions as Neil Lennon gets his last line of defence up to strength in what he terms will be a “monumental” season.

Last term, the Irishman had Fraser Forster, Craig Gordon and Scott Bain vying for the gloves.

However, fans’ favourite Forster elected to stay at Southampton after his impressive year-long loan while Gordon elected to rejoin Hearts after coming to the end of his contract.

The Hoops are bidding for a historic 10 successive titles and will kick off their quest against Hamilton Accies on Flag Day at Parkhead on Sunday.

IT TAKES TWO…Joe Hart and Fraser Forster, on duty for England against Scotland in the 2-2 draw in June 2017.

Barkas is in line to make a quickfire debut with Bain as back-up – and the new Bhoy is looking forward to the fresh challenge after agreeing a four-year deal.

The 26-year-old netminder, who has played 10 times for Greece, told Celtic TV: “I’m very happy to be here, it’s a dream to come to one of the biggest teams in Europe and I can’t wait to play for Celtic.

“Winning medals and trophies is why I came here. I want to win 10 in-a-row, and I want to help us get into the Champions League. That’s what I want.

“The manager spoke to me about the club, the pressure here and that he wants us to be champions again.”

Barkas has already experienced Parkhead before, when he played against Brendan Rodgers’ side in a 1-1 in the Champions League qualifier in 2018.

Unfortunately, for the Hoops they could not improve on their first-leg result and lost 2-1 in the Greek capital to exit the elite competition.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS…Craig Gordon returned to Tynecastle after six years at Celtic.

The 6ft-plus shotstopper added: “When I played here, I remember the atmosphere in the stadium, it was extraordinary. We can’t play with fans at the moment, but I’m looking forward to that soon.

“I feel good with pressure, if a game is played like a friendly, I don’t like that. I don’t like friendly games, I like to play under pressure,

“I like the derbies, I like the Champions League games – these are what I’m looking forward to.”

And he could get additional competition for the gloves from ex-England netminder Hart who has been a free agent since leaving Burnley at the end of his contract last month.

The 33-year-old former Manchester City star, who made 75 appearances for his country, has had talks with Scotland’s title kings and negotiations could be hastened with the new season about to commence.

Newly-promoted duo Leeds United and West Brom have also been linked with Hart.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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