JOE Hart was on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the 2011/12 season when Manchester City scored two goals in stoppage time to clinch the English title for the first time in 44 years.

The former England goalkeeper also lifted the FA Cup with City the season before in front of a crowd of just under 90,000 at Wembley.

So it would have been understandable if he had been among the more subdued members of the Celtic squad following their 2-1 triumph over Hibernian in the League Cup final at Hampden on Sunday.

The 75-times capped 34-year-old is no stranger to success and has been involved, no disrespect to the Premier Sports-sponsored competition, in far more momentous victories during his long and distinguished career. 

But Hart, who produced vital saves from Kevin Nisbet and Joe Newell in the closing stages to ensure that Ange Postecoglou’s side prevailed by the narrowest of margins, was as animated and emotional as anyone on the park afterwards.

The summer signing, who struggled to get game time during the spells he spent at Burnley and Spurs before moving to Celtic, revealed the result was as sweet as any he had previously savoured and stressed he was determined to enjoy every moment of it to the full.

"It was huge,” he said. “You live in the moment, don't you? I don't live in the past and I certainly don't live in the future. I live in the moment. It's a good feeling to have this medal. Hard work paid off.

"It was my first chance to win a trophy for this great club and I had my family there. It was special, really special. I am very proud. I enjoyed the celebrations with the fans at the end.

"During the game you need to show composure and stay calm. But I am one of them - I love football. I love playing, always have and always will.

"Growing up, I never thought I'd have the opportunities to do the things I am doing. It would be criminal of me to be on this pitch and not enjoy it with the fans, when so many thousands would love to be there too.”

Hart is reluctant to look any further ahead than the Premiership match against St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow which Celtic need to win to move back to within four points of Rangers at the top of the table.

However, he has been encouraged by the strides forward that Postecoglou’s new-look side, whose form was erratic at the start of the new term, have made in recent months and is optimistic the Premier Sports Cup will be the first trophy of a successful period at Parkhead.

"I hope so,” he said. “Look, I don't live in the future as a I said, but we have had one trophy available so far and we've won it. It's a good start.

"Resilience is the most important thing to have. We play good football, but there is also a realisation that when the results are on the line, we need to step up. The manager constantly talks about that. 

"We have to show personality in our football, but during games there will also be tests that we can't necessarily plan for. A good team steps up in those moments and we have done that.”

One player who certainly rose to the occasion on Sunday was Kyogo Furuhashi. The Japanese striker had been sidelined for 10 days due to a hamstring strain and was a doubtful starter. But he declared himself fit and netted a second-half double which secured the win.

Hart has played with a few brilliant forwards in the past; he counts Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, to name just four, among his former team mates.

But he has, like so many in this country, been blown away by Furuhashi since arriving in Glasgow and is confident that having the £4.6m acquisition from Vissel Kobe playing up front will enable Celtic to challenge for more silverware.

"Kyogo is a top player,” he said. “He has come back from an injury that could have potentially put him out for a couple of weeks, and put himself on the line.

"He is top. He only really got two chances in the final and he killed Hibs. It was top centre-forward play and it's what we needed. Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic showed great vision to find him and he did the rest.

"We believe in the squad, of course we do. But when someone like Kyogo is available to play, he suits the style so well. There is no getting away from the fact he's our No1 striker and if he's available we are very happy.”

Hart continued: "Nothing could have kept him out of that game and that's testament to him. There is no getting away from the fact that his English isn't perfect and he's from the other side of the world, but he's such a team player.

"He's an honest, humble, hard-working individual and a good human being. Kyogo feels our support as a squad and okay, maybe we can't sit there and have conversations with him. But he feels the love from us and he gives it back with his performances.”

Hart himself has solved what was a problem position for Celtic last season since arriving at Parkhead and he performed brilliantly once again against Hibs at Hampden on Sunday.  

"That's my job at Celtic,” he said. “We are going to be dominant in games but the other teams are very resolute. They make it hard for you to dominate with a lot of goals. Teams hang in in games, so ultimately I will have a couple of actions to do and they could be important in the game. I have to be ready for that in every match.

"Teams will get chances and especially in a cup final. If it's close then it's always going to be carnage towards the end. No matter how dominant we were, they had nothing to lose. They had big strong lads up front. Six attackers and two centre halves in the box at the end. But it was all good fun and we won in the end.”