In Safe Hands: Lennon on Hazard – “He has earned the right and we were delighted with him”

Conor Hazard edged ahead of the equally unconvincing Vasilias Barkas and Scott Bain to get given the gloves on Thursday night in the Europa League win over Lille. And the young Irish keeper looks likely to retain his place in the Celtic starting eleven today with Neil Lennon surely looking to bring in a new, experienced keeper as a priority along with a new right back in the January transfer window.

Barkas and Bain have both had their chances and neither are going to cut it as Celtic goalkeepers. Hazard therefore has a tremendous opportunity to carve out a big future at Celtic when just last season he was the fourth choice keeper and had been loaned out to Dundee.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Conor Hazard (@conor_hazard)

And Neil Lennon recognised the comparisons between Hazard and the former Celtic keeper Craig Gordon, who was rather stupidly allowed to leave the club in the summer and all new be doing his best to win the Scottish Cup next Sunday for Hearts!

“It is a bit early to make that comparison,” the Celtic manager told the media, as reported by Glasgow Times. “Craig is an outstanding goalkeeper, one of Scotland’s finest ever but I can see the similarities.

“Conor is a good size, he is another lefty, he makes good saves and spreads himself well. I am sure Craig would have had a real positive influence on his development up to this point.

“I though he did really well. He has been training very well over the last couple of months and I had spoken to him about playing in this match and I thought he jumped at the chance.

“He was very accomplished and that he handled the occasion very well. We have seen a real improvement in him over the last couple of months in terms of his maturity. His performances have been absolutely excellent.

“He has earned the right and we were delighted with him.”

And as it’s Celtic v Hearts next Sunday in the Scottish Cup Final, if Hazard keeps the gloves then we’ll get the chance to compare him with the former Celtic goalkeeper in the sticks foe the Jambos as Celtic seek out that incredible, unprecedented quadruple treble.

“If I was a player still I would want to be part of it,” Lennon admitted. “It is a hugely exciting period. We have to chase down our rivals in the league and have a Cup Final coming up which is something to really look forward to.

READ THIS…The dangers of being ‘Cute’ for The Celtic Trust and our “pretty phenomenal” problem

“We will be out to achieve another great accomplishment against a very accomplished Hearts team. They are well coached and have some Premiership players, no question about that.”

This Scottish Cup Final is unique in two aspects, one it is being played in December and two it is being played behind closed doors.

“I don’t like the no fans thing,” Lennon said. I think it is excruciating sometimes. The Lille game was a very good game, it was competitive, lot of good players on show, some really good goals and you miss the atmosphere.

“You have to adapt but I know the players have really missed the backing of the fans. You have to push them on. We have to accept it and not hide away from it. We need to get a run together so in the second half of the season we can be really strong and competitive.”


Celtic v Kilmarnock: Soro, Turnbull and Lennon Reading the Room

SWPL1 Preview, Motherwell v Celtic: A Big Win is on the Christmas Cards


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

Comments are closed.