The depth of Joe Hart’s gratitude says it all.

Life as a goalkeeper is made considerably easier with Cameron Carter-Vickers stationed in front of you, but things have been anything but easy for Celtic’s warrior centre-back for quite some time. That his season is now at an end to allow surgery on a troublesome knee injury makes a towering performance in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final triumph all the more remarkable.

Carter-Vickers walked away with a man of the match award for his efforts, as he and partner Carl Starlfelt repelled Rangers’ time and again in their pursuit of an answer to Jota’s first-half header. They weren’t given an inch by Ange Postecoglou’s resilient backline, from which the American will now withdraw for a well-earned period of rest and recovery.

Hart did not have a save of any real note to make over 90 minutes, and that was in no small part due to Carter-Vickers’ excellence. The Celtic keeper delivered an post-match interview on his colleague’s efforts to play through the pain barrier that was about as candid and genuinely effusive as you’ll hear.

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“We’ve known that for a while [the injury],” said Hart. “What an exceptional player. Whatever happens in the future happens. 

“But what a top player. What a top professional. I love him. I love him. He deserves to be pain free. 

“You do want him back as quickly as possible but he’s a person.  He’s not just a great centre half. He’s a person who’s been gritting his teeth and sticking his boots on for us. 

“As a team and a club, we appreciate that. We’ve had to keep this under wraps. That’s the nature of the game. 

“It’s nice that the manager has been able to say that. Cam has been exceptional for us this season.  Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready. But Yuki, Welshy are top centre halves at this club. 

“They’ll be ready to fill his shoes.”

Victory at Hampden tees up a Scottish Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle that makes the odds on a Celtic treble very short indeed. Ange Postecoglou’s side can also be confirmed as Premiership champions for the second consecutive season when they head to Tynecastle on Sunday.

And then, come June 3, they will return to the national stadium in an attempt to make it a clean sweep. But a key factor in this relentless winning habit has been a steadfast refusal to look beyond the immediate future, something that has served Hart and his team-mates extremely well.

“I’d love to have that conversation with you,” Hart smiled. “I’d love to and I’d love to think about it.  But right now there are way too many important games ahead of us. We’ll see. 

“I hope we can have this conversation after the cup finals. I don’t try to savour these days more. I just do. 

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“It’s amazing. What an atmosphere there was out there.

“It was the same last year – a 50/50 split, two top fan bases rooting for their team. It’s so tight. There is so much tension in these games. 

“One mistake or a slip can swing how it turns out. It’s amazing to play in and I’ve been lucky to play in a lot of big atmospheres and I do not take that for granted. I love playing under that pressure.”

Pressing, attacking rotations, fitness; so much of what you see from this Celtic team can be traced back to how they work on a day to day basis. But that bulletproof winning mentality and ability to thrive under the pressure Hart mentions is something more intangible. So, just where does it come from?

“It’s a great question and it’s something that you can’t take for granted,” Hart said. “We’re not a team that’s always going to have the answers but we are always going to go down swinging. 

“We are always going to put it on the line. The fact we’ve got the attitude to try and do that has stood us in good stead. We speak all the time. We don’t take any of this for granted. 

“We are going to keep working hard. We’ll probably be off on Monday but on Tuesday we’ll be looking to get our heads down and work hard to build for the rest of the season.

“You can’t have a week off when you are at Celtic. We just stay in the present. We’ve got an amazing head coach, great back-up staff and side and a support which won’t let us relax. 

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“We don’t want to let up. We are living in this moment and trying to get the most out of every opportunity that’s in front of us.

“We work hard every day. The manager goes on about it and he’s right. We don’t take our foot off the gas as any moment. 

“We’re nor perfect – we’re not claiming to be even though we are striving for it. There are going to be moments in games and there have been in all games this season – even when we’ve had a breathtaking first half – where we’ve had to show a side to our football

‘We did that again on Sunday.”