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‘Borderline shambles’ ‘run like amateurs’ ‘It’s an absolute joke’ Alarm Bells ringing over replacement for Hart

Celtic start pre-season training tomorrow without the familiar and reassuring figure of Joe Hart.

Over the last three years the former England keeper started 110 of the 114 matches played, solving a position that was something of a nightmare in season 20/21 and leaving a legacy that will be hard to match.

In August 2021 Hart signed a three year contract with Celtic, in February 2024 he announced that he’d be retiring when that deal expired. That news seemed to galvanise his team-mates, spurring them on to a double success which has bought the club some breathing space this summer.

It seems that some within Celtic have taken that reprieve as another sign of their own brilliance, enjoying a long holiday since the Scottish Cup was lifted with Hart making his final farewell.

Back in the summer of 2020 Peter Lawwell’s influence was everywhere as the club messed up big time in the goalkeeping department.

On loan Fraser Forster returned for the start of pre-season training but something went wrong and he returned to Southampton, only the most niaive wouldn’t connect that with the influence of the then CEO.

Craig Gordon was made a derisory offer that made playing for Hearts in the Championship in front of no fans a more attractive prospect which left Scott Bain as first choice. Funnily enough.

A few weeks later Vasilis Barkas was signed, the highlight of the season was a couple of penalty saves from Connor Hazard at Hampden.

Celtic were given plenty of notice about Hart’s intentions, they should have already been on the job with the 37-year-old out of contract at the end of the season. It could hardly have been sign posted any more clearly.

The events of 20/21 really shouldn’t need to be brought up again, of all positions on the park sorting out who will be your goalkeeper is the one that needs most time on the training ground to get right.

Every session counts, Stevie Woods has experience going back to Artur Boruc to call upon, he has worked with some of the best goalkeepers in Celtic’s history. He resisted the call of Leicester City in February 2019.

Woods and Brendan Rodgers know the ropes, the requirements and probably have a good idea of the candidates to replace Hart.

Unfortunately Michael Nicholson seems incapable of carrying out the task, of delivering a goalkeeper ready to go straight into the Celtic first team, one with ability and ambition and wanting to play eight matches in the Champions League.

There are no excuses for the failure of the current Celtic CEO to deliver.

The European Championships are a red herring. With the timeline involved someone playing out in Germany could have been signed before the tournament started, if that ‘keeper has held off from signing for Celtic there is every chance that they are looking for a Plan B.

More than five weeks have passed since the Scottish Cup Final, a week on Friday there is a match away to Ayr United for Woods to get to work with the new goalkeeper, it would be a surprise if he is in the nets at Somerset Park.

After that the next timeline is DC United on July 21, a fortnight before the SPFL Premiership season starts.

Following that you are entering last chance saloon, there might be a loan option from the EPL that the club brings on board with the season underway.

Mark Lawwell may have taken a back-seat from recruitment but with his father still around Celtic fans have every reason to fear a repeat of last season’s horrendous recruitment that didn’t improve a single position in the team.

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