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Conor Hazard: I was gutted that Neil Lennon left Celtic... now I won't stop until I'm Hoops' number one


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Conor Hazard was Celtic's penalty hero in last season's Scottish Cup final.

Conor Hazard was Celtic's penalty hero in last season's Scottish Cup final.

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Big season: Conor Hazard has been in and out of the Celtic side this year

Big season: Conor Hazard has been in and out of the Celtic side this year

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Conor Hazard was Celtic's penalty hero in last season's Scottish Cup final.

Conor Hazard has spoken of his sadness at Neil Lennon leaving Celtic and outlined his desire to become the long term No.1 at Parkhead.

Lennon was manager of Celtic when Hazard made his competitive debut for the club in December's Europa League victory over Lille and the Lurgan native also selected the 23-year-old Downpatrick man for that month's Scottish Cup final against Hearts.

Hazard emerged as the hero, saving two penalties in the shoot-out for Lennon's last trophy as boss before his departure in February, with Rangers romping to title glory and stopping Celtic's bid for 10-in-a row.

"Neil is a legend at the club. You can see with the stats how many years he'd been there, what he won and what he sacrificed for the club," explained Hazard.

"It's sad to see a man like that go, and for him to give me my opportunity means a lot."

With John Kennedy in interim charge, Hazard didn't even make the bench for the recent Old Firm derby against Rangers but he is determined to change that and has the belief in his ability to do so.

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"With Celtic now, the main aim is to be No.1 and I'll go back and do everything I can to nail that down. If that doesn't work then I'll look at my options," said the driven Hazard.

"It's in my personality to keep going until I get what I want. I have self-belief and I think I'm proving that with every opportunity I get.

"It has been a rollercoaster of a season for me.

"I wasn't involved at the start then I got an opportunity in the Europa League, and I have to hold my hands up and thank Woodsy (Stevie Woods) and Neil Lennon for giving me that opportunity and then trusting me in the Cup final.

"I was over the moon, and it was a big, big game and a huge opportunity for me. Then I was out of the team due to other factors and have now signed a new deal, so hopefully that's a good step moving forward.

"My main focus is to get game time.

"That has to be one of the non-negotiables if I'm going to take the next step in my career."


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