Conor Hazard signs for Plymouth Argyle for undisclosed fee

Plymouth Argyle has this afternoon confirmed that Conor Hazard has completed his transfer to the newly promoted English Championship side from Scottish treble winners Celtic with the transfer fee believed to be £150,000, although the clubs are describing it as ‘undisclosed’.

The official Plymouth website reported on the deal going through earlier today, which is their fourth signing of the summer. The 25 year-old Northern Ireland goalkeeper Conor Hazard has signed a three-year contract at Argyle.

From Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, Conor became a Celtic player just after his 16th birthday, in 2014. His first taste of first-team action came in 2018, when he joined Scottish second-tier side Falkirk on loan.

After just 12 games for the Bairns, Hazard made his debut for the Northern Ireland national team. He has gone to earn four senior caps, having played for his country at various age group levels.

In 2018/19, Conor played 15 times for Partick Thistle, again in the Scottish Championship, and returned to the second tier for 11 games for Dundee the following season.

Hazard’s introduction to the Celtic first team came in whirlwind fashion, in December 2020. His competitive debut was in the Europa League, at Parkhead, against Lille, a game that Celtic won 3-2. Later that week, he made his league bow, keeping a clean sheet as the Bhoys beat Kilmarnock.

The following week, Conor played in the Scottish Cup final, against Hearts, a game that had carried over from the previous season, curtailed because of the Covid pandemic. The game finished 3-3, after extra-time, with Celtic winning a shoot-out in which Hazard saved two Hearts penalties.

Hazard made seven Celtic appearances in all, all in the space of six weeks during that season.

In early 2022, Hazard headed to Finnish top-flight side HJK Helsinki. HJK are Finland’s most successful team, in a league which runs approximately February to November. He played 39 games for HJK, keeping 14 clean sheets, as they won the Finnish league, and competed in Champions League qualifying before a Europa League campaign. He was named as the Finnish league’s Goalkeeper of the Season.

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher said: “I am very pleased to have signed Conor. He comes to us from a huge football club, so we know he will have been taught superbly. He has international experience and all the fundamentals required to be a top goalkeeper.

“Conor will complement and challenge our current team of excellent goalkeepers, and we look forward to seeing him in action.”

Director of Football Neil Dewsnip added: “Conor had a brilliant year in Finland with HJK Helsinki where – like us – he became a champion last season. That is the kind of player we always strive to recruit; people with a champions mentality, which we will need in the season ahead.”

The deal is subject to EFL approval and international clearance.

Celtic confirmed the transfer stating: “We can confirm that Conor Hazard has joined Plymouth Argyle FC on a permanent transfer. Everyone at Celtic FC thanks Conor for his contribution to the Club, and wishes him good luck in his future career.”

And indeed everyone reading The Celtic Star will obviously wish Conor all the best for his time at Plymouth and hopes he can keep them in the Championship this season.

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