CONOR Sammon has hailed Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart for the save that prevented Alloa from causing a Scottish Cup upset at the Indordrill Stadium on Saturday night.

The nine-times capped Republic of Ireland internationalist had the chance to level the fourth round tie in the first-half after getting through on the visitors’ goal.

However, former England player Hart got off his line quickly and blocked the striker’s volley with his knee and Ange Postecoglou’s men went on to triumph 2-1.

Sammon, who pulled a goal back when he got on the end of a Jon Robertson cross and headed in to the Celtic net with 15 minutes remaining, felt the moment was pivotal.

“Hart made a great save,” he said. “Things like that can change the game massively. I think I have actually caught it too well. I have struck it really, really clean. It was probably one of those where I needed to scuff it into the corner or through his legs, something like that.

“We knew coming into the game that Celtic were going to have a lot of the ball. They have shown they are a very good footballing team from the start of the season. But we had some great chances as well and their keeper made some good saves.

“In the second-half we pushed them, got the goal and made it a nervy last 15 minutes or so for them. The lads are frustrated, but we have got a lot to be proud about.”

The 35-year-old admitted that he thought he had netted early on when he caught Hart out of his goal and tried to lob him from 40 yards out after being teed up by Mouhamed Niang. 

“I was almost wheeling away thinking that it was in because the keeper was so far off his line,” he said. “But again it was probably one of those that I caught too clean. I don’t know how far over it was, probably quite a bit. But for a split second I was thinking: ‘That’s in! That’s in!’

“We knew we would have opportunities like that because of the way they play. They do take risks and they leave one v one and two v two at the back which is a dream for us and for me as an attacker.

“You know if you can get on the ball you are right at the goalkeeper. They are a good team, they played well and we pushed them all the way.”

Sammon is hopeful that Alloa, who are in eight place in the League 1 table, can build on their performance against Celtic in the league matches they have coming up.

“We know what we are capable of,” he said. “We have been really frustrated by how disappointing the results have been in the league. We need to change that and we need to change that quickly.

“But a performance like this is definitely one we can take a lot of belief and confidence from. We stood up to a team like Celtic with the quality they have got. The onus is on us now to take that forward into the league.”