Conor Hazard explains why he had to leave Celtic for Helsinki

By Euan Davidson

January 19, 2022

Conor Hazard sounds delighted after leaving Celtic on loan to Finnish champions HJK Helsinki.

In a move praised by Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou, the 23-year-old Northern Ireland international has agreed a year’s loan deal with Helsinki. The Finnish club are chasing their third successive title, and are looking to Celtic talent Hazard to provide some international experience between the sticks.

Hazard has had his path to the first-team blocked since making his name as a Scottish Cup final hero. Scott Bain has signed a new deal, Joe Hart has been immovable since joining in the summer, and Tobi Oluwayemi looks to be the new third-choice.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Vasilis Barkas, who Hazard replaced in the first-team last year, is likely to be moved on.

Hazard, though, is excited about the opportunity he has in Finland. Speaking to HJK Helsinki’s website after signing on loan from Celtic, Hazard said [HJK]: “Great to be here. 

“I can’t wait to get started. When I first heard about the transfer, I learned that Helsinki is a beautiful place to live and that HJK Helsinki is Finland’s largest club. 

“This is a great opportunity for me to show off my skills.

“It’s an honour to be in such a great company. The club has tough goals for this year.”

Celtic 2-0 Hibernian | LIVE Reaction

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

Celtic have played a blinder with Conor Hazard loan to Helsinki

This is uniformly a good move. Primarily because it’s one Conor Hazard seems delighted with.

He could’ve been farmed out to another Scottish club. However, he’s been there and done that, having spent loans with Dundee, Partick Thistle and Falkirk. Spending time in a totally different footballing culture, where titles are expected? That’s going to surely speed up his progression.

Celtic have made some really excellent loan moves this winter. Liam Shaw being sent to Motherwell makes absolutely perfect sense, with the ‘Well needing some grit and drive in the midfield. Ewan Henderson to Hibernian was a great move for all parties, with his contract set to expire.

Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sealing deals for Adam Montgomery and Osaze Urhoghide’s development is surely the next step. So, too, shipping out higher earners like Vasilis Barkas and Boli Bolingoli, who just aren’t seeing game time.

This is certainly not a move fans could’ve predicted for Conor Hazard. However, it’ll be fascinating keeping up with the Celtic goalkeeper as he aims to help HJK Helsinki secure that third title in a row.

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