CALLUM McGregor last night hailed Joe Hart for recovering from his early blunder against AZ Alkmaar and producing two outstanding saves to help Celtic secure a place in the Europa League group stages.

Hart allowed the Dutch side to cancel out Kyogo Furuhashi’s early opener in the Netherlands when he failed to come out and clear a goal kick by his opposite number Hobie Verhulst and Zakaria Aboukhlal netted.

However, the former England keeper made vital blocks for Ange Postecoglou’s team both in the first-half and the second as the Eredivisie outfit gave the visitors a torrid time in the second leg play-off match. 

McGregor accepts the attacking style of play that Postecoglou has introduced since taking over at Parkhead during the summer will leave them exposed at the back at times.

The Celtic captain believes that he and his team mates must show strength of character to deal with setbacks if they are to enjoy success - and he felt that Hart did that after his error to help clinch a hard-fought 3-2 aggregate triumph.

“He is a top goalkeeper,” said the Scotland midfielder. “There is always going to be human error on a football pitch. But it is so important how you bounce back from it, the personality that you show.

“Joe has got that in abundance. He made two massive saves to keep us in the game. All credit to him. I know he is that type of guy anyway, but it is brilliant for him to show that tonight and help the team massively.”

He added: “These games can always be so difficult. Even if you’re on a good run of form. You come away, it’s a good stadium here, the fans were excellent for them, they got on top of us and they tried to make it as difficult as possible.

“In football it is so difficult win every single match, especially in these games when they come so early in the season and it means so much for your season. Anything can go wrong at any given moment.

“The most pleasing aspect of it was the boys stuck together, we got through it and we showed another string to our bow. We can play good football, but we can also mix it and look after each other on the pitch as well.”