Hart insists consistent messages will help Celtic’s injury-hit defence

Celtic have three centre-backs out for around eight weeks.

Joe Hart insists consistent messages will help Celtic’s injury-hit defence SNS Group

Joe Hart stressed a consistency of message will help Celtic deal with major disruption in central defence.

Brendan Rodgers has lost Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stephen Welsh and summer signing Maik Nawrocki to injury for about eight weeks.

The blows came quickly in the wake of Carl Starfelt’s exit, while Yuki Kobayashi will also miss games against St Johnstone and Rangers.

Gustaf Lagerbielke is set to make his cinch Premiership debut against Saints on Saturday, while Liam Scales could come in for his first Celtic appearance in 18 months after spending last season on loan at Aberdeen.

Hart said: “I have had a few different partners to play with this season, but the message has been pretty consistent.

“A large percentage (of games) were obviously Carl and Cam, but we have dealt with things over the two years with people coming in.

“Scalesy went out on loan but he was a big part of the first season. Chris Jullien, Nir Bitton, all sorts has happened over two years and that’s the beauty of this club, we have strength in depth and we look to bring players in who are ready to play.

“We had Gustaf coming in and making his debut and we are going to have to rejig a few things. Such is life, it’s never perfect.

“Gustaf is a big, strong boy, great energy about him, a huge smile on his face but someone who gets over the white line and that smile is gone, and he is all about business. I am looking forward to seeing how he develops and I would love to be there to help him.”

Hart will embrace that task of helping the players in front of him.

“I think it’s a responsibility,” the 36-year-old said. “It’s about consistency. I wouldn’t say I would behave particularly different to a new player than an old player. If you rest and take people for granted, that’s when you could slip.

“We still have the same energy and intensity, and same message that we will be giving to whoever plays centre-half or in the defensive realm of the Celtic team.

“It’s important we are all on the same page, all pushing, all learning from each other and trying to move forward.”

Consistency was also the theme as Hart discussed how Celtic would respond to their Viaplay Cup defeat at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

“You try not to react in this game,” the former Manchester City player said. “It’s a long old season, many, many games. We just try to stay as consistent as possible.

“That’s what we have tried to do this week, get back to what we do best, get home, a home game is big for us and look forward to the St Johnstone game.”

The Rugby Park loss sparked the airing of concerns among supporters over issues such as the club’s transfer policy.

Hart said: “You have got to respect the noise. At a club like this, you’d be disappointed if there wasn’t noise, we’d be disappointed. That’s the levels.

“But we are all on the same page. And when I say it’s not about a reaction, that’s because I feel we are working to our limit the whole time. It’s not about sitting back and thinking everything is going to be OK.

“It’s not going to be a spike in our reaction because we are constantly working to the highest level we possibly can, taking every single training session to the highest level, the post-match analysis and the work with the coaches.

“Even when you are taking time off your legs and you physically can’t be outside, mentally you are trying to learn and trying to discuss.

“That’s why I say it’s not about a reaction because I’d like to think it would be impossible for us to go even harder than we already are.”

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