'Get him in the first team' - Celtic fans react after rising star handed unusually long contract
By James Black
Celtic today agreed a new long-term deal for Academy goalkeeper Conor Hazard – and Hoops fans immediately took to social media to praise the move.
They claimed the teenager is “better than Craig Gordon,” and one even went so far as to say he is better than his namesake, Chelsea and Belgium star, Eden.
The Scottish champions announced the four-year deal for the 19-year-old Irishman on their official Twitter account ahead of tonight’s Scottish Premiership clash with Hamilton.
Within minutes of the announcement, fans had expressed their delight at tying down one of the club’s prospects on a long-term contract.
Hazard has been part of the club’s Academy since the summer of 2014 after crossing the Irish Sea to sign for the Bhoys from Northern Irish side Cliftonville.
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The youngster made his debut for Celtic’s first-team during a pre-season friendly in Austria this summer and is currently third-choice behind Craig Gordon and Dorus de Vries.
Despite his young age, there are plenty of Celtic fans who want to see the youngster thrown into regular first-team action now.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
Get him in the first team, better than CG HH ynwa
— Ewan (@ewan__campbell) September 8, 2017
Better than Eden.
— Kevijn (@VoetbalKev) September 8, 2017
Better than Craig Gordon
— Reece (@_RH67) September 8, 2017
Conor hazard 4 year deal you could say that's hazardous
— ,,,,, CHAMELEON (@Zakmcj_67) September 8, 2017
— Conal Murnin (@conalmurnin_) September 8, 2017
Conor Hazard is here for 10 in a row
— Conor (@ConorM67_) September 8, 2017
@ConorHazard1 Congratulations on your new contract Conor, all the best for the future ⚽
— Grimsby Emerald CSC (@paulread14) September 8, 2017
Hazard is very well regarded, for both club and country, and the young goalkeeper is likely to have a bright future at Celtic under Brendan Rodgers.
The Belfast-born shotstopper has represented Northern Ireland at Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 level.
Celtic moved to tie Hazard down on a long-term contract just months after giving him a two-year extension to his previous contract. which was due to expire in 2019, and will be hoping the young goalkeeper can repay the faith shown in him by the Parkhead management team.
With Craig Gordon and Dorus de Vries both in the latter stages of their playing careers, Hazard could be the long-term replacement between the sticks for the Hoops.
Last season Hazard was a vital part of the Celtic Under-20 squad who lifted the Scottish FA Youth Cup and competed in the UEFA Youth League.