Celtic continue their winter break work in Dubai this week, with a number of players in Neil Lennon’s squad likely hoping to impress their coaches and manager ahead of the second half of the season.
Although the Hoops’ goalkeeper position is well served right now by the presence of Fraser Forster, it’s also an area of the pitch where players such as Scott Bain and Conor Hazard can think about a future in.
There are no guarantees that Forster will be staying at the club beyond his loan deal and veteran Craig Gordon’s contract expires at the end of the season.
Gordon has even admitted to The Scottish Sun that he could look to move on from the club this month as he searches for regular first-team football, despite his veteran status.
It’s all up for grabs.
Crucial period for Hazard
Hazard, who is still just 21, now has a brilliant opportunity to show that he can be relied upon moving forward, after years of development in Celtic’s youth teams and on loan.
The Northern Ireland youth international has previous spent spells out at Falkirk and Partick Thistle, with an emergency loan to Dundee occurring earlier this season.
Now though, rejoining Lennon’s squad and in the thick of the action in Dubai, he’ll be looking to be part of the next wave in the Hoops goalkeeping department.
Brilliant training moment shown off
Celtic chose to highlight Hazard’s ‘heroics’ with a training video this week, with the player making a stunning fingertip save during an inter-squad match in Dubai. You can watch the clip from 2:33 on YouTube.
It’s that kind of contribution he’ll be hoping he can pull off in senior action for Lennon if and when he gets to make his debut.
To date his closest brush with the first-team has been as an unused substitute, as part of the matchday squad in games against Livingston, Dunfermline, AIK and Cluj.
Having last signed a contract in 2017, until next summer, time could be running out on him reaching his potential at Celtic Park.
Clearly though he is valued to some extent. Is this the year he finally makes his breakthrough?