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Celtic could find dream Joe Hart heir in Conor Hazard

Scottish champions Celtic are continuing their remarkable rise under Ange Postecoglou, with the Old Firm outfit marching on towards a second successive league title having won ten of their opening 11 games in the top-flight this season.

A key figure in the club’s relentless form over the past year or so has been experienced goalkeeper, Joe Hart, with the 35-year-old having enjoyed something of a career revival at Parkhead after what had been a difficult last few years on a personal note.

The former Manchester City man had been unceremoniously sent on his way by Pep Guardiola at the Etihad back in 2016 despite winning major honours with the Premier League outfit, eventually going on to turn out for the likes of Torino, West Ham United, Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur.

That latter stint in north London notably saw the former England number one largely restricted to a watching brief behind first-choice regular, Hugo Lloris, before being shunted even further down the pecking order following Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment at the club.

Rather than accepting his diminishing status, the veteran ace sought out the new challenge on offer in Glasgow having been snapped up by Postecoglou and co last summer, going on to concede just 66 goals in 70 games for the Hoops since then, while recording an impressive 31 clean sheets in that time.

While the Shrewsbury-born colossus has had his shaky moments – including his notable error in the defeat away to RB Leipzig a few weeks ago – it has largely proven a hugely beneficial switch for all concerned, with the 75-cap gem having steadied the waters at Celtic Park following the car-crash capture of Vasilis Barkas.

Due to his advancing years, however, it remains to be seen just how long the £23.5k-per-week man will be able to remain as a competitive presence between the sticks, with it perhaps wise for the Bhoys to already be planning for the future.

Rather than scouring the market for a possible heir, however, the Scottish Premiership side could potentially be better served turning to a player already on their books as an ideal solution, with 24-year-old Conor Hazard no doubt deserving of a chance to fill Hart’s shoes in the years to come.

The Northern Ireland international has made just eight senior appearances for his parent club to date – keeping five clean sheets in that time – although has recently showcased his quality with an impressive stint out on loan at HJK Helsinki.

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The 6-foot-6 titan – who has spent time on loan in Scotland’s second tier in the recent past – was signed by the Finnish outfit back in January, with that bold move abroad bearing fruit as the four-cap gem has since gone on to help his temporary club secure the league title.

That stint in Scandanavia has thus far seen the £540k-rated ace record 14 clean sheets from just 37 games across all competitions, with such form even seeing the towering earn the supporters’ Player of the Year award as a result.

With Hazard set to return to Paradise once his promising loan move comes to an end in December, the player himself has seemingly set his sights on eventually becoming the Hoops’ number one, having clearly benefitted from a first full season at senior level that has also included Europa League involvement.

Discussing his future back in Glasgow, the one-time Dundee loanee only recently stated:

“If there’s an opportunity to fight for my place there, I will work as hard as I can to do that. I will just need to see what happens. Being Celtic number one has always been on my cards.

“It’s why I have made all these decisions to try and get that. I haven’t been able to get a full season under my belt but I have one now, so my goal is still to be Celtic’s number one unless told otherwise.”

Postecoglou could well help the boyhood Celtic fan fulfil that ambition by installing him as the successor to Hart in near future.

Article title: Celtic could find dream Joe Hart heir in Conor Hazard

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