Joe Hart responds to Celtic fans chanting 'bring on' Rangers as keeper has a message for buzzing punters

Celtic keeper Joe Hart -Credit:SNS Group
Celtic keeper Joe Hart -Credit:SNS Group

Joe Hart has warned that Celtic are ready to go up through the gears in Saturday’s Old Firm showdown.

The Hoops keeper was delighted to maintain pole position in the Premiership after motoring past Hearts at the weekend. The reigning champs thrilled a packed Parkhead as they produced one of their best performances of the season against the Jambos to turn up the heat on Gers who responded with a win over Kilmarnock. But Hart is convinced there is even more to come and Brendan Rodgers’ men look to put the foot down in the race for the title.

Hoops fans chanted ‘bring on the Rangers’ at the final whistle at the weekend and the No.1 echoed the sentiment and said: “Yeah, they’re next up. We want to put ourselves in as good a position as we can this week so that come kick-off on Saturday, we’re ready. Was it good preparation? To an extent. I still don’t think we were brilliant. I still know we’ve got levels. We started a bit slow against Hearts, but football isn’t perfect. To keep winning every game is not easy.

“You’re not going to just Rolls-Royce it. Even the greatest teams have to scrap and fight to earn every single point. We’re no different and we’re willing to do that.

“Once we start ticking, we can really play through teams. And when we’re not, we’re willing to put the hard work in. The fans were superb. We’re only building though. We don’t know yet. But we’ve got it all to play for and we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”

Hart is gearing up for his 14th Old Firm clash since landing in Scotland – with seven wins, three draws and three defeats so far. The England legend admitted he’s LOVED the derby clashes – but will only enjoy this next one if Celts come out on top.

Hart said: “I didn’t have any preconceptions. I immediately realised, having spoken to two or three people, that the common message was that you don’t know what it’s like until you are there. I didn’t have any expectations, but I can tell you that I have loved every moment of being a part of them.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the derbies I have played in previously but ultimately I’m a professional who wants to win, so I’m only going to enjoy Saturday if we put a performance in.”

Celtic’s big name players have risen to the challenge in recent weeks with Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Cameron Carter-Vickers and co playing a major part in steering the Hoops into a winning position in the league.

Hart hopes the big match experience can be a boost this weekend as he said:“We’ll see. It certainly can’t harm us. It’s all on the line and we’ve got plenty to work for.

“We’ll work hard this week, keep everyone fit, keep everyone pushing and put ourselves in the best position we possibly can