Conor Hazard friendly snubs make Celtic exit look inevitable

By David Walton

July 12, 2021

Conor Hazard looks like making his Celtic exit this summer after being snubbed for the club’s pre-season friendly matches in Wales.

The Northern Irishman ended last season as the third-choice shot-stopper. Behind Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas, it looked like a tough road ahead for Hazard to win his spot back.

The youngster was in between the sticks for a period back in December 2020. It was his penalty shootout heroics that secured the quadruple treble. However, an unease in dealing with cross balls and a lack of authority of his penalty box ultimately saw him dropped again in the new year.

Coming into pre-season, Hazard’s goal will surely have been to impress Postecoglou and get some pre-season minutes. The fixtures in Wales could’ve been an opportunity for Hazard to show that he can be either first-choice or first reserve this term.

Unfortunately, Postecoglou didn’t play him for a single minute over the last week. He wasn’t part of the matchday squads against either Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton Athletic. Instead, Barkas and Bain both got halves of football each in both matches.

Conor Hazard heading for the Celtic exit door? Given no opportunity in Wales

Postecoglou gave a bunch of youngsters runouts in Wales. The likes of Karamoko Dembele, Kerr McInroy, and Owen Moffat just to name a few of the many. But nothing for Hazard, who’s been with the squad since the first-day of pre-season.

Whilst Postecoglou’s number one isn’t clear just yet, it’s clear Hazard is third choice. Or at least that’s the plan at the moment given he’s fit but isn’t getting any game-time.

Yes, there is the friendly against Bristol City on Wednesday. Perhaps Hazard will get some minutes there. But even if he does, his absence from the first two friendlies is telling. Especially considering he went down to Wales in the first place.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The goalkeeper has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks. Dundee are looking to bring the stopper back to Dens Park on loan [Daily Record]. Given they’re competing in the Premiership this season, it would be a big step-up for his career to be playing regularly in the top flight.

In the past, he’s spoken about his need to play first-team football in order to realise his international ambitions [Belfast Telegraph]. He’ll look at Dundee in the Premiership as an ideal chance to force his way into Ian Baraclough’s starting XI.

The only thing that would’ve kept Hazard at Celtic was the prospect of playing regularly. If the early pre-season games are anything to go by, he isn’t in the frame as things stand.

In other news: THERE’S a gaping hole in the Celtic team that Albian Ajeti could be perfect for