GIVEN the glory that Ange Postecoglou consistently delivered to Celtic over his two-year tenure, it can be easy to forget just how shaky a start the Australian had to life in Glasgow. Joe Hart remembers it, though. And one loss of the three defeats from Postecoglou’s first six matches in charge, in particular.

That day, Celtic suffered a disappointing 1-0 reverse away from home on astroturf. Sound familiar?

Hart, as a new arrival at the club, recalls the impact that defeat at Livingston had on him, and how it drove home to him the responsibility he now had on his shoulders as a Celtic player.

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He expects that a few of the new signings at Celtic over the summer had a similar realisation as the final whistle blew on their League Cup exit at Rugby Park on Sunday afternoon.

“I can’t speak for them - but yes [they would have],” Hart said.

“I can remember standing on the astroturf at Livingston very early in my Celtic career having lost 1-0.

“It was 95 percent Celtic crowd that day, even though it was an away game, and it was a tough feeling. But it was also a feeling of it really hitting home the responsibility of wearing the shirt.

“But the reaction is not one of a team that didn’t put the effort in. Or the energy. The quality just wasn’t there and I think that can be understandable sometimes as no-one is perfect.

“If a bunch of us aren’t having a good day, then credit to Kilmarnock who know how to play at home and make it difficult.

“But we do put the effort into every single day at work and that’s no different now.”

It certainly didn’t take Hart long to realise that any defeat at Celtic is treated as a crisis, but he has learned that keeping a level head when all around the outside of the club may be losing theirs is a key component of delivering the consistent success they have enjoyed overall.

“I’d definitely say they’re your words!” he said. “I’d imagine that is the perception [of there being a crisis], but we’ve got a huge responsibility. 

“We’re not just footballers, we’re Celtic players and we’ve got a responsibility to show in these times – I say these times, it’s one game. 

“I’d like to think you could interview me off the back of a 10-game winning streak or off the back of a bad defeat – it’s going to be the same message, same attitude, same focus. 

“Like I say, we’re not perfect. None of us claim to be. But we’re going to work damn hard to be at our best to represent the shirt and win games in the style that takes people off their feet.

“There’s no better feeling, and I’ve felt it a lot here.”

What has helped Celtic in the days since their Rugby Park defeat is that they have a manager who has also maintained a level temperament, as Hart revealed Rodgers has resisted the urge to ‘blow heads off’ within his dressing room, and focused on a more studied appraisal of where his men went wrong on the day.

“There’s more than one way,” he said.

“If you get shouted at, you get shouted at and then it’s over. But I think getting people to learn and understand why things happened, that’s the modern way. Brendan is very good at that. 

“He’s a great thinker on the game and someone who understands there is almost an opportunity in this for us to get better. You park it, you learn from it.

“There is obviously an aftermath, a debrief and conversations to be had. But then we’re in a full-time job here, so we’re able to analyse it and go through it and then put things to bed as comfortably as we can in terms of everyone understanding how, why and what we need to do better. Then we focus on the next one.

“Initially there was a bit of a sombre atmosphere with people disappointed in themselves and disappointed in us as a group. But after we analyse that we stick together as we’re still learning about each other.

“Obviously we look to the manager to take us through that process. He let us know what he felt but football has changed now so it’s not like you come in and get your head blown off and you leave it at that.

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“You discuss what you’re not happy with and what you think can be done better. Then you look to go and do that.

“Obviously we were disappointed with the result at Kilmarnock. But I think we have been trying to set a precedent ever since I’ve been here that we try and work towards our highest level at all times.

“Unfortunately results and setbacks like Sunday do happen. But I think it’s important that we don’t think we have to react because we put ourselves in the best position at all times. And we work towards the highest levels at all times.

“Obviously we want to react with a good result but in terms of energy and effort I think we just need to try and keep that as high as possible no matter what’s going on.”

At the moment, what is going on directly in front of Hart is causing some concern among supporters, with centre-backs Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh all expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks each through injury.

That has placed an early onus on the likes of Gustaf Lagerbielke to step up to the plate, but Hart is sure there is both the depth of personnel and of character within the Celtic squad to come through that challenge.

“You go through these patches,” he said.

“In my time here, we’ve had moments when we’ve had literally too many guys and not enough training pitches and then we’ve had moments when we’ve had to adapt and put people in other positions. 

“It makes me smile to think back to the first time we won the League Cup in my time, with the team we put out and the subs we brought on. 

“So, we’ve got a deep resolve. We’re all in it for the good and looking to push forward.”