Brendan Rodgers has praised Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart for his recent fine form, with his strong display against St Mirren on Sunday the latest in a string of impressive showings from the veteran since the end of the winter shutdown.

Hart made an outstanding save from an acrobatic Alex Gogic effort to contribute to Celtic’s relatively smooth progression to the Scottish Cup quarter finals at the weekend, and he stood tall under some intense pressure as the Saints bombarded his box with corners during the first half of the game.

Hart has faced criticism at points this season, and with the 36-year-old’s contract due to expire in the summer, it is widely thought that his future may lie away from Celtic Park.

READ MORE: Liel Abada 'not in right frame of mind' to feature for Celtic

But his performance in Paisley, which came off the back of Hart making huge saves at critical moments in the recent games against Aberdeen and Hibernian, drew praise from his manager.

“Joe doesn’t have a lot to do but the times he does he makes wonderful saves,” Rodgers said.

“He’s a real catalyst for the team with the way him and Cal (McGregor) lead the dressing room.

“The saves he makes are so impressive. There were lots of crosses [on Sunday], lots of balls into the box.

“But he was very clean. You always want keepers to catch but if they can’t then there’s lot of distance on it. He did that very well more than a few times.

“It was another clean sheet for him and that was important.”

Whether Hart ultimately does move on or not at the end of the season remains to be seen, but if he does depart, Celtic would not only be losing a keeper who has shown he can still cut it at this level, but in Rodgers’ view, a hugely important voice in the changing room.

His influence has helped the Celtic manager to control the internal narrative within the club this term, when the outside narrative has often been negative.

“Joe’s a very experienced player,” he said.

READ MORE: St Mirren 0 Celtic 2: Instant reaction to the burning issues

“But we control the voice of the team inside the changing room.

“Listen, there are lots of opinions in the game, which is fair enough. But we’ll control our own inner voice, as they say, and that’s something that allows you to get the wins and get the qualification like today.

“But we have to keep going. There are still a lot of games to play and a lot of exciting games. We’ll look to finish the season strong.”