Exclusive: Whelan thrilled as Lawwell green lights new contract for Celtic star
Young Celtic keeper Conor Hazard deserves enormous credit for his recovery in the Scottish Cup Final victory on Sunday, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, Whelan eulogised over the mental fortitude of the 22-year-old who was making just his third appearance for the club.
But it was a mixed afternoon for the Northern Ireland international despite his central role in the Hoops sealing a historic quadruple treble.
His lack of assertiveness in dealing with a Hearts corner cost Celtic the goal which ultimately took the game to extra-time.
In extra-time, too, the young keeper was at fault as his attempted punch to clear a Hearts free-kick resulted in a goal.
Asked by Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs whether this dramatic turnaround was good news for Hazard as he looked to secure a new long-term contract with the club following the green light from CEO Peter Lawwell, Whelan said:
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“Absolutely. Look, he redeemed himself.
“It wasn’t the glittering display you’d expect from a goalkeeper. It probably wasn’t the Cup Final he’s dream about as a kid, but he came back and he was the saviour, wasn’t he?”
“That’s what you need to do, you need to stay strong mentally despite mistakes you might have made in the game. And he did, he came good when it was needed.”
In the aftermath of the 3-3 thriller, manager Neil Lennon admitted that “[Hazard] should have done better with two of the goals.”