Celtic GK Conor Hazard has been written off by the media already; it will only motivate him

By John McGinley

December 27, 2020

Hugh Keevins has written off Conor Hazard’s chances of being effective in next week’s Celtic vs Rangers clash, writing in his Sunday Mail column this week.

Celtic have won every match with Hazard installed between the sticks this season.

He’s helped Lennon’s Bhoys see off Lille, Kilmarnock, Ross County, Hearts and Hamilton.

More than that, he’s kept three clean sheets in his three league appearances so far.

The Northern Ireland international was also the hero in the Scottish Cup Final penalty shoot-out.

Entirely why Clyde 1 pundit Keevins has decided to aim his sights on Hazard then is unknown. It’s deeply unfair.

Keevins wrote in The Sunday Mail: “Hazard has nowhere near the standard of experience necessary for a fixture that would effectively end Celtic’s dream of 10 In A Row if they lose to Rangers.

“And Celtic ought to have a duty of care to the player that respects his immaturity instead of allowing the threat of a giant shadow being cast over his career at an early stage by ignoring his apprentice status.

“It would be a damning indictment of Celtic’s recruitment if Hazard is thrust into the front-line because his elders can’t be trusted.

“Placed in a position of vulnerability because the club have made an embarrassing mess of their goalkeeping situation.”

Comments will only motivate the Celtic youngster

Please make no mistake; I’m not sure anyone expected Hazard to be in this position at this stage of the season.

The progress of Vasilis Barkas, or lack of, has been disappointing.

However, Hazard has earned his spot in the lineup moving forward, and this kind of media attack is very harsh.

Celtic’s handling of the goalkeeping position hasn’t been great this year, but that isn’t Hazard’s fault. It’s probably not even Neil Lennon’s fault.

History maker: Celtic youngster Conor Hazard / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The 22-year-old doesn’t have much experience, but he’s been training around the Hoops first-team for years. These players know him and trust him.

Far from displaying immaturity, he’s shown the opposite to date.

I expect Keevins’ comments will only motivate Hazard further.

The goalkeeper deserves our support as he makes the first steps in his Celtic career, not our scorn, nor our disrespect.

In other news, Steven Gerrard has been speaking about Celtic ahead of next week’s derby.