When it came to impressive Celtic performers, Conor Hazard was right up there before his heartbreaking error against Hibernian.
The Northern Irishman found himself back in the sticks last night. With Vasilis Barkas presumably one of the Hoops players currently self-isolating, the jersey was given to Hazard. The same Lennoxtown graduate who won us the Scottish Cup against Hearts last month.
And everything was going brilliantly. Hazard had made several terrific stops, showed decent command of his box, and had no issues with his distribution. In fact, he certainly looked more comfortable on the ball than his opposite number Matt Macey.
Then it happened. In added time, Hazard went for a ball and totally flapped at it. He wasn’t the only one at fault as Shane Duffy only got a weak touch on the ball after that. Kevin Nisbet rifled home the loose ball to sent Hibs back to Edinburgh with a probably deserved point.
Since that moment, it’s what he’s been remembered for last night. But the truth is he put in a terrific display before that moment of madness, and that can’t be forgotten.
Celtic had Conor Hazard to thank before late howler vs Hibernian
Stat experts WhoScord gave Hazard a rank of 7.68 out of 10. This was the joint-highest rating alongside David Turnbull. It’s also worth remembering some of the saves he made.
Hazard had to look alert in the first half to ensure Joe Newell and Kevin Nisbet didn’t get their names on the scoresheet. In the second 45 he did the same with a Stevie Mallan effort and also reacted well to a deflected Nisbet strike. Hazard also showed awareness to spot a Newell through ball that looked like giving Hibs a one-v-one, only for him to come out and thwart.
So let’s not pretend Hazard had a poor game. It was just his late setback that people will remember it for. It’s grossly unfair in a way, but that’s football. It followed a similar error against Hearts, so people will join dots from that too.
But the supporter reaction to his performance before stoppage time showed how pleased the fans were in general. They know he had a fine game and were happy to let people know.
Here’s a look at some of the reaction to his display before Nisbet’s equaliser:
Conor hazard and Stephen welsh have been sound aw game, good for confidence, Turnbull quality as usual
— toal (@RyaanToal) January 11, 2021
Conor Hazard is having a superb game tonight
— Kyle Walsh (@kwalsh96) January 11, 2021
Conor Hazard has made more saves tonight than Barkas has in his entire Celtic career.
— James (@il_James_li) January 11, 2021
Conor hazard has been good the night
— anton quinn (@antonquinn8) January 11, 2021
Conor Hazard has been excellent 🧤
— Ciaran ✍🏼 (@ciaranforemann) January 11, 2021
Hazard has been class the day
— AJ_CELTIC (@AJ_CELTIC) January 11, 2021
Don't forget Conor Hazard. Might have saved us in the Rangers game if he had been playing
— celtic reggae (@celticreggae) January 11, 2021
👊 Duffy & Welsh have been solid
🧤 Hazard has stepped up when needed
⚡️Johnston looking dangerous
☄️ Turnbull & Soro at it again
— Celtic FC Talk (@CelticFC_Talk) January 11, 2021