By Keith Hackett

13th Dec, 2021 | 6:00pm

Ex-Fifa referee: Hart 'definitely' guilty of major offence as Celtic controversy missed by officials

Joe Hart should have been penalised for handling the ball outside the area as Celtic beat Motherwell 1-0, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee insisted Hart’s mistake was “obvious” and Euan Anderson should have been able to spot it with the help of his assistant.

The Celtic stopper came out of his goal and to the left of his box when Kaiyne Woolery was played in over the top, as shown on the BBC’s Sportscene programme.

He appeared to then jump out of his area and punch the ball away for a throw-in and stop the Motherwell attack

“He’s definitely handled outside the area,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“This should be a free-kick for the opposition and a yellow card, not a red, for the goalkeeper. What he’s done is, in effect, stop a promising potential attack.

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“That’s a difficult area. I’ve been in that position. In fairness to the officials, they didn’t guess. That’s a positive.

“But between both of them, I think they should have got this decision right. I know they’ve got communication kits but I would have liked the referee to go to his assistant and have a bit of a debate.

“It’s pretty obvious from what we can see. Even if you look at it from the referee’s perspective you’ve got to understand where the goalkeeper is in relation to the area.”

Hart kept his 14th clean sheet in his 28th Celtic appearance across all competitions against Motherwell.

He has kept clean sheets in his last three Scottish Premiership games.

In other news, Celtic may be about to sign a ‘hidden gem’ out of contract in weeks.