Conor impresses but Celtic two points

Conor impresses but Celtic two points

13 January 2021

DOWNPATRICK’S Conor Hazard made another start for a depleted Celtic team, but they could only draw 1-1 with visiting Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Monday night.

The Scottish champions, who are facing a huge battle to hang onto their title in the face of the challenge from Rangers, were without 13 players who were told to self-isolate, as well as manager Neil Lennon and his assistant, John Kennedy.

The move came after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19 whilst the team were  on a mid-season trip to Dubai.

As he would have expected, Hazard did not have much to deal with from the side visiting from Edinburgh, making six saves over the course of the match. 

It was, for long periods, a frustrating night for the Hoops, despite the fact they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.

David Turnbull broke the deadlock a wonderful free-kick nine minutes from the end, but the hosts were denied at the death when Kevin Nisbett scored his 13th goal of the season for Hibernian.

The result left Celtic 21 points behind runaway leaders Rangers, with Celtic retaining three matches in hand on Steven 

Gerrard’s side. Celtic host Livingston on Saturday, whilst Rangers are at Motherwell on Sunday.

Despite Celtic’s struggles this season, 22-year old Hazard has enjoyed something of a breakthrough campaign, displacing heralded summer arrival Vasilas Barkas in goal.

Last month he performed heroics in the Scottish Cup Final as Celtic clinched the trophy courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Hearts.

Hazard made his senior Northern Ireland debut two years ago against Costa Rica in a friendly. He has also been a regular for the U-21 side, captaining them during their last European Championship qualifying campaign. 

Conor’s family are no strangers to sporting success. Younger brother Jack, who is also a goalkeeper, has played in the Irish League for Glenavon.

More recently he focused his attentions on Gaelic football, putting in some super displays for the Down U-21 side and the Saul club which won the county intermediate championship last year.