Shay Given insists former team-mate Joe Hart is repaying Celtic’s faith in him with string of standout performances

The Premier League winner has become a vital member of Ange Postecoglou’s squad this season

Shay Given is thrilled to see his former team-mate Joe Hart repaying Celtic for providing him with a platform to prove his doubters wrong.

The former England No.1s career looked to be on the slide after he left Manchester City in 2018, enduring disappointing spells at Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur which saw his game-time restricted as he filled the role as second string shot-stopper.

The 34-year-old was wanted by new Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou to plug the Hoops problematic goalkeeping position.

The likes of Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard all failed to grab their opportunity between the sticks last season, with big-money signing Barkas in particular making a number of high-profile mistakes.

Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was selected in the starting XI on Tuesday night. Picture: SNSCeltic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was selected in the starting XI on Tuesday night. Picture: SNS
Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was selected in the starting XI on Tuesday night. Picture: SNS

Hart has already proved a shrewd summer singing with his vast experience also crucial in a much-changed dressing room this term.

And Irishman Given reckons Hart’s move to Parkhead has helped reinvigorate his career with his standout displays making him feel loved once more.

Speaking to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Leicester v Newcastle, Given said: “When you’re a goalkeeper and a club comes in for you with the intention of making you their number one, there’s no better feeling.

“I had the same at Manchester City; they could have gone with any goalkeeper in the world and they chose me.

“It’s a great feeling and all you want to do it prove to people why someone has put their trust in you - and Joe’s like me in that regard.

“He’s a Premier League winner with so much experience. It’s just nice to see him back playing again and enjoying his football; that’s a big part of it.

“He’s number one again and that’s exactly what he needed after a tough few years. Joe’s a bubbly character and he’s quite a lot like myself; he’s frustrated when he’s not playing and all he want to do is prove he’s still capable of performing at the top level.

“If Celtic do win the league this year, he’ll have been a big part of it. I’ve watched a lot of their games this season and he’s pulled off some big saves at key moments.

“It’s great to see him enjoying his football and playing with a smile on his face, because he had a frustrating few years there, definitely, and he’ll admit that himself.

“Celtic, a team I’ve supported all my life, is a massive club and sometimes people in England underestimate the size of the club, not just in Scotland but around the world; they’ve got a massive following.

“Those supporters can be tough on the players when things aren’t going well, but Joe’s been received really well since he joined; it looks like the fans have really taken to him, which proves he’s doing a good job on the pitch.”