Joe Hart on Ange Postecoglou: Age doesn't matter, I've explored things that I've never had under previous managers

Joe Hart Ange Postecoglou Celtic FC

Manchester City legend and Celtic FC's #1 Joe Hart has expressed his thoughts on returning to the Champions League after bowing out to Real Madrid in the Semi-Finals six years ago.

Hart said to the Scottish Sun: “It’s massive — and we’re all looking forward to it.

“But we’re in such a mindset here that we just try to take care of business daily. Whatever is in the future will happen. But it’s a good chance to see where the team is at.

“I know the Champions League is ahead and soon the groups will be drawn up.

“But it’s hard to look past anything when we’re so involved in what we’re doing.

“I’ve had plenty of European highlights. Qualifying for the Europa League first time around was one.

“I’m from Shrewsbury Town originally, so playing in the Europa League was great.

“We then got into the Champions League with Man City, we had never done that before. So that was a big achievement playing in it.

“Then we went from playing in it, to competing in it, we got to the semi-final one year. So yeah, it’s been a lot of fun.

“It was Real Madrid in the semi-final. The last time I was in the Champions League was 2016, and that semi-final. We lost 1-0 in Madrid.”

Back in May 2016, Hart was a heartbroken aggregate loser.

And even then, despite Madrid boasting the incredible firepower of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the decisive moment was an own goal from City midfield flop Fernando.

No one in the Hoops squad can boast the big-match pedigree of the former England goalie. And it’s why his presence will be huge for their chances of upsetting the odds against the best on the continent between September and November.

Hart, 35, has also played against Juventus, Sevilla, Dynamo Kiev, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, PSG and Barcelona in the Champions League.

At Torino, he faced up to Roma, Lazio, Inter and AC Milan and Napoli in Serie A.

Asked if that was the type of opposition he’d want for Celtic, Hart added: “I think so. But look, we aren’t going to get much choice, especially with us going into pot four.

“There’s not really an unheard of team. The only teams that might have been slightly less well known are going to be in our pot anyway.

“So, we’ll need to see who we get. Of course, it’s where the club wants to be. We’ve earned the right this year, so we’re going to look to build on the fact we’ve earned that right and compete in it this time.”

Celts have a major point to prove on the continent this term — after they crashed out of THREE European competitions last season.

The champs are in a healthy financial position after guaranteeing between £30-40million by qualifying for the group stages.

But even then their football budget will be dwarfed by most others in the competition.

Hart said: “It is what it is, there’s no point complaining.

“We’re in a business where money exists, so you don’t moan about it, we get on with it.

“We’ve built the best possible squad we can with the best mentality, and we’re going to play the best football we possibly can in the tournament.

“However that ends, it ends with us walking in being proud of what we’ve done.”

The veteran added: “I’ve done a lot of pre-seasons. But it’s part of my life. It’s all I know.

“Times have definitely changed since I first started doing pre-seasons, where I don’t even think we’d be on the pitch by now. We’d still be getting flogged.

“You move forward. The boss wants us to be playing football, so we need the ball at our feet and we need to be moving as a group.
“It was a good break. I got maybe five weeks off, I reckon.

“We are given a programme over the summer, but I think the modern-day professional just stays on top of things, and especially at my age I know how to look after myself.”

Hart thrived with Celtic last campaign, and he said: “It was fun, it was a good year and it was nice to have the success at the end of it. But I don’t want to stop there.

“However much more there is to come from me, I want it to be at the highest level possible, and for me to be pushing myself to the limit.
“It’s a different system for me to be involved in, it’s something I’m still trying to learn.

“I don’t think age matters when you are trying to develop.

“I’ve probably explored things that I’ve never had to previously explore under previous regimes.

“But I’ve always said, whatever the manager wants, I’ll try my best to do. And that’s what we’re doing here.

“I think what is the biggest credit to the manager is that it didn’t matter who came in, we all knew our roles.”

READ MORE: Joe Hart to Micah Richards: Ange Postecoglou is “one of the best, most inspirational.”