Joe Hart: Celtic ‘doing own thing’ as goalkeeper discusses Man City return and England recall

The Celtic keeper won’t be experiencing such an occasion for the first time when his team faced up to Rangers in Sunday’s Scottish Cup last four tie. In 2011, he excelled for Manchester City as they prevailed 1-0 over then English powerhouse neighbors Manchester United to pave the way for an FA Cup final that secured the club a first major honor in 35 years. A success which has been followed by an unprecedented period of haul of silverware for City now the dominant force in English football.

The 34-year-old isn’t keen to push parallels about what could lie ahead for Ange Postecoglou’s men if they complete a treble over a Rangers side they have beaten away and home in little over two months to establish a commanding six-point lead in the title race. But, as Celtic chase a domestic clean sweep this season, neither is he oblivious to how such a head-to-head could have a lasting impact.

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“I remember that semi-final really well as it was a real turning point for us as a group,” said the England international. “It was a huge moment in the new era at Manchester City. We were known for having a lot of money and all the rest, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. We went toe-to-toe with United at Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final, with a 50-50 split of fans. They do have a different feel [with that split] and it’s a good feeling to win a game like that at the national stadium – a really good feeling. That’s when it all started. Every moment is unique. Right now at Celtic, we are doing our own thing. That City won was a long time ago and it started another story. But right now, our focus is on just stamping our style on every game we play. Ultimately, we want to win as many games as possible in all competitions.”

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Celtic’s Joe Hart salutes the club’s support and says his focus is on the club’s objectives as he is touted for an England recall. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

Hart returned to the Eithad last weekend to watch City’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Liverpool in that nip-and-tuck struggle between the pair for top flight supremacy this season. And he revealed the exploits of Postecoglou’s men this season haven’t gone unnoticed in that part of the world. “It was nice to be back there watching a game. That was the first time since I left,” he said. “It was a good one for my son and there was a bit of talk about Celtic at the game. City is a home for me and I’d only been back with opposition teams since I left.It was good to go as a fan and there was definitely a lot of goodwill coming for Celtic.”

There is plenty of goodwill coming Hart’s way too. His form of him since pitching up at the east end of Glasgow has led BBC pundit Trevor Sinclair to champion the player for an international recall four-and-a-half years on from the last of his 75 caps. The Celtic keeper is coy on that possibility. “I definitely qualify – I am English!” he said. “Other than that, I am totally focused on what I am doing at Celtic. I enjoy having that focus and everything that is coming with it.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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