Celtic youngster Conor Hazard has hailed Neil Lennon after his countryman bumped him up to the senior squad over the summer.
Hazard is currently the Hoops’ third-choice shot-stopper after spending recent years plying his trade in the academy and elsewhere.
The youngster is behind both Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain in the pecking order, as he continues to train with the Hoops first-team on a daily basis.
That means he has more regular contact with Celtic manager Lennon, who saw Fraser Forster and Craig Gordon leave the club over the summer. And it’s certainly an experience the Northern Ireland under-21 international appears to be enjoying as he touched on potentially achieving 10-in-a-row.
As quoted by the Belfast Telegraph, Hazard said: “The manager is brilliant. He is very good with the boys. He has a professional demeanour and drives the team on.
“He has great authority and the standard has been good. He drives a very high standard in training and matches.
“What an achievement it would be (10-in-a-row). Everyone will be out to get us so we have to perform every week to get the results we need.”
Keeping the squad players happy is key to securing the 10
Hazard knows he won’t get much game-time this season given his position in the squad. Yet, despite the fact he’s tasted senior football in the past with several loan spells in Scotland’s lower leagues, he’s still a happy member of the Celtic dressing room.
That’s part of a bigger point here. If Lennon can continue to keep the squad players happy – those members of the playing staff who aren’t likely to get regular games – then that will be key to securing the 10.
We need to have the likes of Hazard, Tom Rogic, Mikey Johnston, Olivier Ntcham, Ismaila Soro, and players of their ilk in good spirits. Dressing room harmony is absolutely vital when it comes to its effect on performance levels throughout the club.
Of course, Lennon has never really struggled in that aspect of his Parkhead career. Over the course of both of his spells at the club as manager, the Hoops boss has always managed to keep the entire squad’s morale in good shape.
That will be as important as ever in this season, and Hazard clearly falls into that bracket of back-up players who appears happy with his position at the club.
Hopefully, that’s something that can be seen around the rest of the bench-warmers at Parkhead. Their importance to the 10 simply cannot be underestimated.