Ange Postecoglou speaks as Conor Hazard leaves Celtic on one-year loan

By Euan Davidson

January 19, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has given his reaction after Conor Hazard left Celtic for HJK Helsinki on a one-year loan deal.

Hazard was a hero when Celtic secured the Quadruple Treble, making big penalty saves to help the Hoops to unprecedented history. He made his Hoops debut in a 3-2 win over Lille in 2020, amidst uncertainty between Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain. In total, he’s made 8 appearances for Celtic, keeping 5 clean sheets [Transfermarkt].

However, opportunities have been at a premium for the Northern Irish goalkeeper. He finds himself well down the pecking order at the club. Scott Bain was handed a new contract yesterday, while Tobi Oluwayemi is making encouraging progress, being promoted to the first team.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic announced that Hazard has joined Finnish side HJK Helsinki on for a year. The club are chasing their third successive league title.

Postecoglou said [Celtic FC]: “We are sure this move will be good for Conor, it will be an important opportunity for game-time and I know he will embrace this next period.

“In HJK Helsinki we believe it will be a great environment for him.

“I know HJK and Celtic have enjoyed good co-operation before and I think the loan period will be very positive for everyone concerned.

“We all wish Conor the very best.”

Celtic 2-0 Hibernian | LIVE Reaction

Celtic 2-0 Hibernian | LIVE Reaction
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Ange Postecoglou makes the correct call on Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard

This was needed. Hazard showed some signs of quality last season, but he’s at a point where he sorely needs regular minutes.

HJK Helsinki might not necessarily be the obvious choice, but it’s a decent one. With Helsinki chasing three-in-a-row, the pressure will be on Hazard to make big saves. The positives here are obvious.

At 23, regular game-time will help his development considerably. His ability to read crosses and set-pieces will improve with time. Meanwhile, his reactions are already encouraging for a goalkeeper his age.

Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Previous loans, with Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Dundee were good ideas. But he made fewer than 15 appearances with each club. A season as a regular number 1 would be a significant boost to his overall progression, and at a significant point in his career.

Already a player with caps for Northern Ireland, Ange Postecoglou will realise there’s a player there. That is, if he’s able to develop outside the club.

For all parties, this seems like an ideal outcome.

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