Just a matter of weeks ago, Neil Lennon’s Celtic side were sinking without a trace.
Despite being 13 points off the pace in the SPFL, he has at least bought himself some time.
This season has been an utter disaster for the Hoops.
It was supposed to be about a tenth consecutive league crown and tarnishing Rangers’ reputation once again. However, the precise opposite has occurred.
Celtic are seriously behind in the league and appear to be conceding goals at will, being handed a drubbing on the European stage almost every time they take to the field.
Twice they conceded eight times against Sparta Prague and as the goals flew in, supporters could only blame their abject goalkeepers.
Scott Bain failed to command his area in the away clash against Sparta and then Vasilios Barkas made some horrendous errors versus AC Milan.
For the good of Celtic and indeed their defence, changes had to be made.
It was always going to be interesting to see how Lennon solved the issue of not re-signing Fraser Forster in the summer. Spending £4.5m on a goalkeeper with international recognition looked a good idea on paper but Barkas has been average at best.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Celtic have played better since introducing a more reliable pair of hands.
That happens to be Conor Hazard, a young player on the verge of earning a new contract for his emergence and form between the sticks.
The 22-year-old hadn’t played all year for the Glaswegians until the last two matches and surprise, surprise, the Bhoys have won those outings. He may have conceded twice against Lille but Hazard kept the club’s first clean sheet since the 1st November when they defeated Kilmarnock 2-0 last weekend.
It’s not ideal when you have to rely on your youngest senior stopper to save the season but that’s what he’s on the verge of doing. In playing so well, he has handed Lennon more time in the Parkhead hot seat and he owes the stopper plenty of thanks.
Hailed as a “massive talent” by Alex McLeish, it looks as though it’ll take some doing to displace Hazard. He deserves to be Celtic’s number one.
AND in other news, Celtic must unleash their “wonderful” ace with “explosive power” on Sunday…