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Joe Hart says Celtic players failed to deliver performance fitting of their fans

Livingston v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart held his hands up to the supporters after a 1-0 defeat by Livingston left them sixth in the cinch Premiership table.

That Hart was Celtic’s best player – making excellent stops from Jack Fitzwater and Alan Forrest – was a telling fact from another disappointing away day for the club.

The 74-times capped England international could do nothing about Andrew Shinnie’s brilliant first-half finish which earned Livi their first win of the league season and lifted them off the foot of the table.

Celtic fans were given tickets to an away game for the first time since March 4, 2020, when Tom Rogic netted a stoppage-time equaliser at the same venue.

The travelling fans dominated the full Tony Macaroni Arena like their team controlled possession, with 79 per cent of the ball.

But Celtic struggled to create clear chances and home goalkeeper Max Stryjek was rarely seriously troubled with a late stop from Albian Ajeti the only time he was truly stretched.

Stand-in skipper Hart raised a hand to fans after the game as if to apologise on behalf of the team.

“We had three-quarters of the stadium for an away game and I have never seen that before in my life,” Hart said. “It’s a great occasion to play in, a huge club to play for.

“I don’t think they expect an apology. But we are one. I really feel that at this club. I feel that more than most we represent them and they represent us.

“They have shown up and we didn’t quite bring what they brought to the table.

“I think we need to acknowledge that and if we are going to do anything as a team we need to acknowledge the tougher moments and stick together.”

Hart knows Celtic have to quickly improve on away record that has seen them lose six times on the road already this season. They have not beaten Scottish opposition away for seven months.

“They are facts and we’ve got to deal with that,” the former Manchester City player said.

“We are not running away from it. But we are trying to build something, what the manager wants from us and what we want.

“We are all on the same page and we are going to keep pushing.

“It’s the start of the season, but we can’t really afford too many more of these – if any.

“But we are all pulling in the same direction and believe that will work for us.”