Hazard's First Interview
Argyle’s fourth signing of the summer, Conor Hazard, is used to being a champion.
Hazard joins Argyle off the back of an impressive loan spell in Finland with HJK Helsinki. Conor was named goalkeeper of the year in the Veikkausliiga 2022 season, during which HJK won the division.
Hazard was on loan from Celtic, who themselves were crowned champions of Scotland last season. Now, Northern Ireland international Conor is part of an Argyle squad who topped Sky Bet League One in May.
It was an easy decision to make, according to the shot-stopper.
“Once I heard about the club and the Argyle fans, I knew it would be amazing to be able to become a part of,” said Conor. “I’m delighted and excited for the future ahead.
“Last year, when I went abroad to Finland, it was an amazing experience, a completely different culture and it helped me mature really well.
“Going over there on your own, it’s a completely different language you have to adapt to as well as the style of football. I thought I adapted really well. I really enjoyed my time there, and [I liked] the people.
“The players were really good. They welcomed me and it was a bonus to get into the Europa League, so I take a lot from last year.”
Hazard signed for the Academy at Celtic, his boyhood club, at the age of 16 in 2014, and progressed through the youth system until he was called up to the first team squad at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.
Conor was able to develop under quality, internationally capped goalkeepers, aiding his progression at the Bhoys and turning him into the goalkeeper he is today. He reflected on his time at the Celts positively, but knew the time was right for a new challenge.
“Every footballer at the age of 16 is going to have to make that change from living with your Mum and Dad,” said Hazard.
“Going straight into a different culture, a different club where you have to fend for yourself and live for yourself so it matures every footballer in this day and age.
“I was really fortunate coming up through the youth system. I had a lot of good goalies in front of me: Joe Hart, Craig Gordon and Fraser Forster, all big names.
“I picked up every little thing I could off them and hopefully developed it into my game now. There were great goalie coaches up there too. Colin Meldrum and Stevie Woods were very good to me.
“Celtic has always been a great club to me. It’s a club I’ve supported since I’ve been growing up and I’ve been there a long time, but there wasn’t as much game time as I’d like, so as soon as this opportunity came along, it was the best decision for me and my career.
“I’m ready to get going, and I’m excited to get in and hit the ground running.”