It might not have been the announcement that everyone was hoping and praying for on Wednesday, but it’s been revealed that Conor Hazard will be a Celtic player for a few more years.
Of course, the Green Brigade are currently eagerly awaiting news of who their new manager could be. They are also hoping for promising updates on the futures of Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer.
However, one man who will be staying put beyond the summer is Hazard. The goalkeeper has penned new terms until 2023 putting to bed speculation surrounding his future.
Earlier this term it looked as though the 22-year-old wouldn’t sign a new contract and thus, leave on a free transfer. The stopper had a loan move to Dundee United blocked and was waiting to be given more consistent game time before deciding to agree to new terms.
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Clearly, the Northern Irishman is now happy with his place in the team and is excited about the future. It might be a mere coincidence that he’s signed on now Neil Lennon has left, but either way, he could play a major part in the club’s plans going forward.
Nick Hammond has been rather poor with his recruitment lately and nothing typifies that more than the £4.5m they forked out for the error-prone Vasilis Barkas last summer. Scott Bain has also made mistakes but after becoming the hero of Celtic’s Scottish Cup final win, Hazard is surely set for a brighter future.
He may have been at fault in normal time during their win over Hearts back in December but the youngster stood up when it mattered in the shoot-out, saving a succession of penalties.
The 22-year-old is still vastly inexperienced but with the number one spot so uncertain, signing on talent with potential like Hazard’s is incredibly promising news. It’s especially positive when you consider both Cameron Harper and Karomoko Dembele could leave in the summer on free transfers.
Hazard hasn’t featured since the 0-0 draw with Livingston in January but has kept three clean sheets in his six outings between the sticks this term. Considering how ropey Celtic’s defence has been of late, that’s a decent record.
He needs to work on being more commanding but at just 22, the ‘keeper has a big part to play in their rebuild going forward.
AND in other news, Hammond could end Christie’s Celtic stay by landing 27-goal ace that Strachan rates…