Saturday, June 3, 2023

Playing for Ange Postecoglou ‘makes me feel alive’, says Celtic keeper Joe Hart

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 May 2023


Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart feels he is playing for a team with a clear and distinct style for the first time in his career.

Hart celebrated back-to-back titles for the first time on Sunday after helping Celtic to a 2-0 win over Hearts.

The 75-cap former England goalkeeper came in at the start of Ange Postecoglou’s reign and says the manager’s demands and quest for improvement make him “feel alive”.

He said of Sunday’s scenes: “They are special moments. You can’t take these things for granted.

“It’s an amazing club to play for and to be champions two years in a row is a great feeling. I have never done that before, we had a gap last time we won it down there (in the Premier League with Manchester City).

“Having been champions, we have improved from there. Everyone has got the attitude that they want to improve, so it’s good to be around.

“I know nothing is promised in football, it’s really not. Next year is not promised, the cup final is not promised.

“We have to work damn hard this week, we have a big game for the football club at the weekend. But it’s important to enjoy it, enjoy it with the fans, enjoy it with the team, and build on it and try and get as many opportunities to do it again.”

Celtic are the 10th club Hart has played for, having had several loan spells during his time at City, and Postecoglou has made a major impression on him.

“He is top, he is really, really good,” the 36-year-old said. “He is really clear in what he wants and the biggest buzz for me is I am playing for someone who is pushing me and I am learning new things every single day.

“I’m an old dog in this game and the fact that I am having to do that and stay on my toes and still want more and trying to improve is a great feeling. It makes me feel alive.

“It’s great to constantly be pushed and get results from it. It’s all very well, there are plenty of managers out there who will push and it doesn’t necessarily work, or players don’t adapt. Credit to the players and staff, we have been able to pull in the same direction and get results.

“I love being part of that. I have played in different teams that have been successful. Identity in football has always been there, but in terms of having a real way of playing, this is the first time I have been part of a team with a real way of playing.

“We live and die by it. I love that opportunity. There’s been many coaches and managers I’m sure out there who say, ‘Look, this is how I want you to play and, if it doesn’t (work), it’s on me’. I have heard that many times.

“But I genuinely feel comfortable making risky passes, short passes, and if someone does miss a pass or a tackle and the ball goes in, I don’t think any of us would even flinch because that’s what we are being asked to do.

“We believe what we have been asked to do and we are enjoying trying to be better at it.”

The big games do not stop for Celtic, with the Scottish Cup and a treble on the line against Inverness on June 3, but first they have the chance to go a full season unbeaten against Rangers when they travel to Ibrox on Saturday.

“There’s no extra motivation,” Hart said. “It’s a huge game for the club.

“We have pulled together as a group. There’s not going to be any fans inside the stadium pulling for us, but we know around the world…Jeez, we went to Australia in November and felt their presence.

“We know there’s going to be support, expectation, and the least we can do is show up with an attitude to win and play our style of football.”


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