If Joe Hart believed in fairytales, then the ending to his career would already be written. Everything the Celtic keeper - who this week announced he will retire from professional football at the end of the season – has got from the game though, has had to be earned.

Fortunately, that is not only what he is used to, but what he thrives upon. It is his dedication that has carried him so far in football as much as his talent.

Now that the news he is stepping away from the game in the summer is out there, he is hoping to park it and focus on the job at hand. Which for him, means doing the same thing every day as he has done throughout his long and illustrious career, applying himself to the best of his ability to bring success to his club.

The idea is to go out at the top. But Hart knows that the only way he will get his happy ever after moment in May is if he continues to put in the hard yards until then.

“I’ve never really had a plan,” Hart said.

“I’ve just got up every day and gone for it and seen where it’s taken me.

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“Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that, I’m not just turning up blind but with focus and energy and commitment.

“Then a lot of that famous saying, ‘when you know you know’. It’s not my body telling me, it’s my mind telling me this is a situation too good to turn down.

“To finish somewhere I’ve absolutely loved every moment being at, where I can give and give back and help. I might be wrong.

“It’s obvious what I hope. It’s not about hope, it’s not the business or the game I’m in. I’m not in here thinking about the fairytale that could happen.

“I’m in here rolling around on the grass still trying to get better, still trying to put myself in the best position to go into the game on Sunday fully focused and as prepared as I can be to put on a good performance and hopefully get three points for the team.

“A lot of the people who matter fully understand this is a message of clarity and it’s not a ‘This is Your Life’ moment. We knew it was coming so it’s time to get your head down and finish strong.”

Another motivation behind the timing of Hart’s announcement was to kill speculation over his future, and the chance to deal with the fallout from his decision in one week rather than have conjecture over his situation cloud the forthcoming critical moments of Celtic’s campaign.

“I thought long and hard about is there a right time or a wrong time,” he said.

“There isn’t. But ultimately my thought process was we don’t need anything hanging over the club. Speculation over a regular starter in the team. Is he going to be offered a contract is he going to sign or is he looking elsewhere?

“None of those things happen anymore because we all know where we stand.

“I stand side by side with the manager, goalkeeping coach and the players. We’re all on the same page, we’re all contracted till the end of the season, whatever happens, and we’re looking to finish strongly.”

The hard work begins at Motherwell tomorrow as Hart looks to cement his Celtic legacy by lifting the title for a third and final time at a club he has come to hold dear.

“I honestly don’t know how I’ll be remembered but in the process of doing this, I was aware about the message it could send,” he said.

“I know what message I wanted to give. I took a breath and said I couldn’t question that because since I’ve been here all I’ve been a part of is people who understand when they see someone who’s going to give everything for their club.

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“That’s the least you can ask as a supporter. Someone if they were in that position would give the same amount of energy, same commitment. I know people see that.

“Some people might think I should be in goal, some people might not. That’s completely up to them and I get that. That’s the beautiful thing about opinions.

“I’ve felt nothing but warmth since I’ve been here. I’ve felt understood in terms I’m a guy who might be limited in certain things but I’m certainly going to give my lot.

“My feelings towards the club, I wear on my sleeve.”