“We were all a wee bit gutted to be honest,” Stephen Welsh on Joe Hart hanging up his gloves

Stephen Welsh reckons that there is an extra incentive for the Celtic players to make sure that they win the title this season and that can also be used to full advantage in the Scottish Cup as Celtic return from the final international break of the season to hit the ground running at Livingston on Sunday.

Extra motivation 

Celtic v Livingston – Kyogo Furuhashi and Joe Hart react following the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup quarter-final match at Celtic Park on Sunday March 10, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

It’s the beginning of the business end of the season and the Celtic players are well aware of what is expected of them. And for the Celtic defender, there’s extra motivation in the dressing room as Celtic want to make sure that veteran keeper Jo Hart goes out with a bang with two more winners medals to add to his impressive collection.

Hugely important presence

Hart has had an incredibly successful three seasons at Celtic and a double this season will see him walk away with three league winners medals, two Scottish Cup and and two league winners medals and with it a place in Celtic’s history. He’s been a hugely important presence on and off park for both Ange Postecoglou and Brendan Rodgers, and Welsh talks of the important role Hart plays in marshalling Celtic’s defence.

“Joe has been an absolute revelation for us, honestly. I think when the news came out, when he said he was going to be retiring at the end of the season, we were all a wee bit gutted to be honest,” Welsh said, as reported by Glasgow Times.

 UEFA Champions League match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park on October 25, 2023.  (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Role model

“Since he has come in, he has been a role model for the young boys off the pitch. Everybody has seen what he can do on the pitch, but for young lads like me he has been amazing. He is the first person to get us up for it and he is the first person to praise you for doing something good. But he can get after us as well, for slacking off a wee bit or whatever. He has been great for us,” Welsh added.

Celtic v St. Johnstone – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic players applaud the fans following the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday March 16, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

He will want to go out on a high

“Having Harty behind the defence in goals makes us feel secure. Some of the saves he pulls off are amazing. He is a massive help to us on the pitch and off the pitch.

“The fact it is his last season just gives us that added little incentive to do well. Harty has won plenty of trophies in his time and I would imagine he will want to go out on a high by winning even more. But we are only looking at what we can control and that is the games that we have coming up. The aim is to go and win all of them,” Stephen Welsh said.

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