JOE Hart has endorsed Ange Postecoglou’s refusal to abandon his attacking style of play despite the dire run of results that Celtic are on and insisted that he and his team mates are on the verge of finding form.

Postecoglou’s men, hammered 4-0 by Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen in a Europa League group game at Parkhead on Thursday night, have now won just two of their last eight matches.

The disappointing spell has led many supporters and commentators to question if “Angeball” - as the tactics the Greek-Australian coach has introduced since arriving in Scotland in the summer have been dubbed - is working.

But Hart, the vastly-experienced former Manchester City, Torino, West Ham, Burnley, Spurs and England goalkeeper, is convinced Celtic are firmly on the right track and will come good once they start converting their scoring chances and cut out unforced errors at the back.

“We are here every day, trying to put things right and trying to perform,” he said. “And we do believe we are close. That is only going to frustrate people on the outside. It is and we know that. But there is no point coming this far to not see through what we are trying to do.

“Look, we would love to not have the short-term pain, but we are going to have to take that. We are going to have to make it as short-term as possible because it is no fun losing games. But we believe in the process and we are behind what he is doing.

“Yes, it is a risky way of playing football, but when you really, really break it down, which he does for us, he doesn’t expect us to just walk out there and play total football. Yes, it’s a different way of playing to maybe how other teams are doing things. But we have got a top coach with a good coaching team behind him who also believe in what they’re doing.”

Hart continued: “It is why we play football. Me personally? I love it. I love the fact that I am 34-years-old and I am learning a new style of play, new parts that I can personally do. All the information is there for us, every single bit of information for us to play this way is there.

“I am really enjoying the challenge. I am immensely proud to be up here and be part of this club. However I am playing, I want to be on the winning team. I am loving the new challenge of this style of play that I have maybe not been given the chance to play before.

“I will be honest, I didn’t know if I could play it. But I feel comfortable in it and feel I am representing myself well. But it is not about me. It is about the team, it is about us getting results.”

Postcoglou, the former Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Australia and Yokohama F Marinos manager who was a surprise choice to succeed Neil Lennon back in June, has come in for criticism in the wake of the defeats to Rangers, Real Betis, Livingston and Leverkusen.

But Hart, who deputised for Callum McGregor as captain when the midfielder was injured, stressed every member of his squad has appreciated his public defence of them in the past few weeks and remains firmly behind the changes he is trying to make. 

“We take it all together,” he said. “We are a group, we are a team. The manager is included in that team. He stands up for us because he believes in what he is trying to do and we believe in what he is trying to do. He has to come in and do three or four of these a week at the moment. But he speaks for us and we speak for him.”

Next up for Celtic is a difficult trip to Pittodrie to play Aberdeen, whose manager Stephen Glass is also under pressure after an eight game winless run in all competitions, in the cinch Premiership tomorrow.

Hart and his team mates, who are in sixth place in the table after seven matches, have still to win away in the league in the 2021/22 campaign, but the keeper is quietly confident they can halt their slump with a morale-boosting victory this weekend.  

“We have got to turn our possession and our dominance in games into victories,” he said. “Simple as that. We are going to go there with the same intention as we have had in every game – to dominate and win. We need to get it over the line.

“We are definitely frustrated. Especially in the league. The stats show we have been dominant, but ultimately it is about winning games. We need to turn it into that.

“How do we cut out mistakes? Not make them in the first place. But we are all humans. We all mean well going out there with every intention of representing the team well. Human error comes into it. We need to make as few mistakes as possible and we need to be there to cover each other when they do creep in.”

Hart knows it is vital for Celtic to beat Aberdeen in what is their final match before the international break in order to quell growing unrest among their supporters and silence their critics.

“Look, the proof is going to be in the pudding isn’t it?” he said. “Sunday is our only chance to show that we have got strong characters, that we are strong players and that we are going to win games for this football club. Yeah, Sunday is an important game for us.

“It is on paper, of course it is. As has been proven, it is not as simple as that. It is going to take a big performance. We know Aberdeen are having a tough time in the league, but we know that when a team like ourselves visit there is one of two ways the game can go. It is up to us to make it go our way.”