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By Luke Proven


Joe Hart has not been without his critics this season with a concern among Celtic fans that the former England goalkeeper is past his best.

Brendan Rodgers, however, was quick to sing the praises of the Hoops stopper after recent influential performances against Hibs and St Mirren.

Hart had one save in particular on Sunday afternoon as Celtic progressed into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup as he tipped an Alex Gogic overhead kick around his post.

And for Rodgers, the 36-year-old has been beyond reproach.

“Joe doesn’t have a lot to do but the times he does he make makes wonderful saves,” he said. “The saves he makes are so impressive. There were lots of crosses [against St Mirren], lots of balls into the box.”

Aside from Hart’s influence on the pitch, Rodgers was also keen to highlight the leadership that he shows off it.

“ He’s a real catalyst for the team with the way him and Callum McGregor lead the dressing room.

“It was another clean sheet for him and that was important.

“He was very clean. You always want keepers to catch but if they can’t then there’s a lot of distance on it. He did that very well more than a few times.”

Rodgers looked to have found a system that accommodates both Kyogo and Adam Idah into the starting line-up with both players involved from kick-off against St Mirren.

 It was Idah who was preferred for the number 9 spot, with his Japanese teammate played in a slightly deeper role.

The Celtic boss could now look to utilise both going forward.

“It’s an option for us because of the system and how they play,” said Rodgers.

“It creates space and we felt with Adam’s presence that he would attract numbers and it would give opportunities for midfield players or attacking players coming into the game.”

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