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Hart kills off speculation with perfect delivery

Joe Hart has impressively timed the announcement of his end of season retirement to kill off speculation over his future.

With his contract expiring at the end of this campaign there was speculation that Celtic might sign a goalkeeper during the January Transfer Window but that came and went without any new arrivals- or a contract extension.

Hart has undergone some difficult times this season but has been at his best since the winter break with crucial saves in every match that Celtic have played behind an unsteady defence that has been lacking some of the regulars.

It looked like the former Manchester City and England keepers’ career was going to peter out quietly as a back up following moves to Burnley and Spurs but in an inspired move Ange Postecoglou placed his trust in Hart and was rewarded ten-fold for that decision.

Thrust into a stuttering and unsteady Celtic side undergoing a massive change the new goalkeeper was outstanding, bring experience and authority to a youthful side as well as some inspired performances.

Now, closing in on 150 appearances Hart will wave goodbye to Celtic and a highly distinguished playing career in May with his message to fans making his intentions very clear.

This is something I’ve thought about for a while. There is not right or wrong time, is there? The way this club works at the moment, there’s so much on it, there’s so much heart and soul poured into what we are doing as a football club.

With the grand scheme of the club and the support base, and the conversations that go on around the goalkeeper position for next season, I just think, with the blessings of the club and the conversations with the club, with Brendan and Stevie Woods, it was important to get the message out.

It takes one thing off the table that can be speculated over. I’m definitely not going to be there next season, I won’t be available to play football. I want to take that off the table and we can talk about why, and then push forward.

Ruling out the possibility of a rethink, Hart added:

To the people that know me – that really know me – they know that’s not even a possibility. I was cautious of that, so I appreciate the open mindedness of the club and the fans when they see this and understand it. This is not someone who is checking out. This is someone who is just letting them know because they think it’s important.

I can’t wait to have those conversations. I can’t wait to get into the ifs, buts and maybes, the whys and hows, the ups and downs and how I can pass on my experience for people to hopefully learn from or improve on, and maybe offer me some hindsight.

The key message is those conversations are for after. This is the last time I’ll be talking about this. All I want to do is focus on the job in hand and representing this amazing club I play for and leaving my heart and soul out on the field.

Hart has said his piece, he won’t be returning to his decision, future media interviews will focus fully on the task in hand this season to deliver further trophies.

The hunt at Celtic is now on for a successor to Hart, after his success there will be an expectation that an experienced keeper is brought in rather than placing trust in another ‘project’ type deal.

CLICK HERE for Hart’s career details and trophy wins

CLICK HERE for Kobayashi knocks back Celtic loan option.

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