The news that away allocations will be restored to a reasonable level come the start of next season will come too late for Joe Hart to get a proper feel for what the Old Firm derby used to be, with his Celtic career coinciding with the ticketing tit-for-tat that is finally grinding towards a resolution.

Not that having only a small wedge of Ibrox backing his team – or, more recently, no fans at all – has diminished the experience for the former England number one, who is savouring these final months in a Celtic jersey before hanging up his gloves for good in the summer.

He admits though that he is looking forward to perhaps snagging a ticket to come along and back his old team at some point in the future, with Hart saying that although he may be leaving Celtic in the summer, the club will never leave him.

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Whether we will ever see him brandishing a megaphone and leading the Celtic support in song like another former custodian of his position, Artur Boruc, is doubtful, but the passion that Hart feels for the club is just as heartfelt and will likely linger just as long.

So, as he gears up for his final taste of Ibrox as a player this Sunday, sans the Celtic supporters, he is also casting an eye towards the future, and relishing the day that he will be able to come back up to Glasgow and join their number.

“I genuinely look forward to supporting this club forever, it's a part of me,” Hart said.

“This is me removing myself from a guy who doesn't want to talk about what's next, but I look forward to being a football supporter at some point in my life. And this is one of the teams I'll be a fan of.

“I'm going to remove myself from the situation I'm in now because my immediate reaction is that it means nothing to me [the restoration of away allocations]. But if I was to take away the guy I'll be when it's going on it'll be great.

“It'll be a real buzz. I've played in a 50-50 split here when it was at Hampden and it was electric. [Whether you] come out good side [or] come out the bad side, it's emotional.

“Since I've been here, we've had fans, I think the most has been 700-750, and it was strange at the start of the season, winning away and having no-one to put your gratitude towards.

“Because even though we played without supporters that day you still feel it in the build-up, to have your support and your club behind you, so it'll be nice, it'll be a great spectacle.

“Around the world this fixture is heavily respected and to keep that respect you need away supporters in there. You never know, I might be one of those couple of thousand.”

All that being said, Hart has still enjoyed the Old Firm experience, having not known it any other way. As he mentions, while the fans may not be present in the stadium when the Celtic players step out of the tunnel this weekend, the players know that there are tens of thousands with them in spirit and backing them to the hilt.

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So, there is no doubting whatsoever that each Celtic player knows exactly what is at stake, and who they are representing, when they cross that white line at a vociferously partisan Ibrox.

For Hart, there is no escaping the magnitude of the fixture, both in terms of what the outcome will mean in the context of the title race, and what it means to the fans of both clubs.

“If people don't know then they don't know,” he said.

“I do know, and I know the build-up to these games is huge, the emotion to these games is huge.

“If you're not winning world-wide acclaim or awards, who cares? When you're in it, when you're emotionally invested, I don't care what anyone says, I know how it feels.”