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HART FIRES WARNING TO CELTIC

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JOE HART completed an unwanted hat-trick when Celtic collapsed to a 2-0 loss to St Mirren in September.

The 35-year-old 75 times-capped England international keeper had sampled defeat on only two Premiership occasions before the stumble in Paisley.

Scott Bain had been the netminder in Ange Postecoglou’s league bow against Hearts at Tynecastle on July 31 2021 which ended in a last-gasp 2-1 defeat for the visitors.

WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Celtic fans back Joe Hart during Saturday’s 2-0 Viaplay win over Kilmarnock.

Hart answered the SOS and arrived on a £1million transfer fee from Spurs and was in place five days later when the Hoops overcame FK Jablonec 4-2 in the Czech Republic in a Europa League qualifier.

The former Manchester City shotstopper has been the team’s established No.1 since that debut and been first pick for Postecoglou apart from a handful of occasions.

However, Hart could do nothing to prevent 1-0 losses at Ibrox and Livingston and played a major role in the side turning the formbook on its head to go all the way and lift the Premiership title in May last year.

He was beaten twice in Paisley as the Hoops’ sequence of 38 successive league games without defeat came shuddering to a halt four months ago.

And the experienced keeper warns that Stephen Robinson’s team could punish the champions again if they fail to perform at Parkhead this evening.

AT THE READY…Joe Hart prepares for kick-off as he goes through a rigorous routine.

Hart said: “There’s no doubt they can do it again. St Mirren deserved to do it on the day, but a lot has happened since then. We take care of every game as it comes. The strong encouragement here is not to live in the past.

“If we’re going to concentrate on the past, there is a lot more good than bad. But we don’t rest on our laurels. Every single one of our squad is ready to go. We’re looking forward to it.

“There were just moments in that game where they got the better of us. It was really quite that simple. I don’t think we were particularly terrible. St Mirren executed their plan really well and we were a little bit off it.

“I don’t think we are going to go too deep into it.”

Hart, speaking to The Herald, added: “We believe that, no matter what moment in the game, no matter what opposition, whether that be St Mirren or away in the Bernabeu, we have proven that we are going to play our way.

“We believe in it. It can’t be perfect. That’s impossible. But we’re doing our best to play at the highest level we can at all times. We believe that’s going to be enough.

WORDS OF COMFORT…Joe Hart has a chat with injured team-mate Reo Hatate during the 4-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road before the turn of the year.

“Honestly, we are not a complacent group. This football team is not complacent. We didn’t lose that game because we were complacent.

“We lost because St Mirren deserved to beat us on the day. The approach to that game will be no different to this one.

“We are going to go and try to win it and play the best football we can.”

Celtic go into the 7.45pm kick-off with a nine-point advantage over Rangers who will start their match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park 15 minutes later.

Looks like it’s going to be another engrossing evening in the Premiership.

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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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