‘We were bigging him up before kick-off – just come and clear that!’: Chris Sutton left mystified by Joe Hart’s goalkeeping as his clanger nearly ruins Celtic’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League
- Chris Sutton blasted Joe Hart for his role in AZ Alkmaar’s first goal on Thursday
- The former England stopper failed to clear a loose ball, leading to a goal
- Former Celtic star Sutton said that Hart’s error ‘killed’ Ange Postecoglou’s side
- The Scots managed to hold on and advance to the Europa League group stage
Chris Sutton has blasted Joe Hart following the Celtic star’s howler for his new club, with the pundit claiming the Englishman’s lack of decisiveness ‘killed’ Ange Postecoglou’s side against AZ Alkmaar.
The Scots arrived in Holland with a healthy two-goal advantage in their Europa League qualifier and they looked set to cruise through after Kyogo Furuhashi opened the scoring in the second leg.
However, the Eredivisie side were handed a lifeline on Thursday evening after Hart failed to race off his line quickly enough to clear a loose ball, allowing Zakaria Aboukhlal to win the ball and put it into an empty net.
Chris Sutton has blasted Joe Hart following the goalkeeper’s blunder against AZ Alkmaar
And Sutton attributed the blame for Alkmaar’s first goal solely at Hart’s door, claiming that his error ‘killed the team’ in Holland.
‘We can point the finger at [Stephen] Welsh but Joe Hart should just see that and come and clear it,’ he said on Premier Sport. ‘If in doubt… I mean, talk about giving a team encouragement.
‘You are in the perfect position – a goal up, three goals ahead in the tie – and Joe Hart, if you are in doubt just put your foot through it. He has killed the team there, Joe Hart has. I don’t care what anybody says.
The former England stopper was beaten to a loose ball by Zakaria Aboukhlal and was punished
The AZ Alkmaar striker was able to put the ball into an empty net after Hart’s costly error
Sutton criticised Hart’s lack of decisiveness and said his error ‘killed’ Ange Postecoglou’s side
‘We were bigging Joe Hart up before the game, talking about his experience which has been so important for the team, he has to just come and clear that.’
Hart – who joined Celtic from Spurs this summer – was called into action after defender Stephen Welsh failed to clear a long ball from the Dutch outfit and former Celtic star John Hartson said that the Scot was equally at fault for the goal.
‘I totally agree with you, Hart should be more aggressive and put his foot through the ball there, but Stephen Welsh… it is a bread and butter header, you’re a defender, just head it back where it came from,’ he added.
The Scots managed to hold on to advance to the group stage of this season’s Europa League
The hosts pulled another goal back later on in the first half as comical defending from Carl Starfelt saw the Swede put the ball in his own net, with Hart given no chance of keeping the ball out.
Hartson fumed at the 26-year-old’s howler, labelling the Celtic defender’s effort as ‘Sunday league’ standard.
‘You’d see that in Sunday league football, they have paid £4.5million for this player. By the way, that’s his fourth or fifth big mistake since he has been at the club.’
Postecoglou’s side managed to weather the storm in the second half to win the tie and advance to the group stage.