Joe Hart sheds tears of joy after ending career on a high with Celtic

The veteran goalkeeper won the Scottish Cup in his final game before retirement.

Joe Hart sheds tears of joy after ending career on a high with Celtic cup win

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart shed tears of joy after the final whistle blew on his career in the best way possible.

Adam Idah’s last-minute goal was enough to settle a tight Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final against Rangers and send Hart into retirement with his 12th major winners’ medal.

“I’m all drained out,” the 37-year-old said. “I just feel happy that we won. I know it’s the end of a career but, honestly, my focus was on this game. It’s so important to the club to keep winning. It was so important that we won the title and to double it up with the Scottish Cup is a special feeling.

“I’m worried that something bad is going to happen to me because over the last couple of weeks life has just felt really good.

“I shed a tear after that final whistle, just pure joy. Sheer happiness.”

The 75-times capped England international feels the experience of lifting the Scottish Cup in front of his family and the Celtic supporters who took him to their heart will take some time to sink in.

“At the time, you just do, you just live it and see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” he said.

“There’s going to be a moment where I’m going to be a couple of months, maybe a couple of years, I don’t know when, but at some point it’s all going to come crashing down. But, do you know what? I am just going to sit back and smile and be like ‘what a ride, I have loved every minute of it’.

“I’ve been lucky that, whilst I have been up here, it has paid me back in ways I never thought you could be paid in football, in terms of the love and loyalty this place has shown me, and really let me into its heart. I will be forever grateful, it will be forever part of us as a family.”

There were no second thoughts from Hart after clinching the seventh major honour of his three-year spell in Glasgow.

“It’s not an emotional decision,” the former Manchester City player said. “I made it earlier in the season because it felt like the right time for me.

“Physically, it was never a question, it was just a timing thing in terms of my three years being up here and the right time as a family. I feel comfortable with it. It’s someone else’s turn and there’s no-one else that I want to play for on this planet other than this club. When I realised that wasn’t going to be the case in terms of having to go back home and get on with life, from that point of view it was the right decision.”

The game was an extremely tight affair with chances few and far between, and Hart was relieved to see referee Nick Walsh go to his VAR monitor and disallow a goal for Abdallah Sima after he was pushed by Rangers midfielder Nicolas Raskin at a corner.

“Your heart’s always in your mouth because you don’t know,” Hart said. “It came from behind so I don’t know who pushed me.

“I felt set for the cross. Obviously they had a plan to cross on me, and as soon as I got ready to deal with it, someone pushed me. I was confident someone pushed me, it was just whether it was a Celtic or Rangers player.”

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