Celtic cup final penalty hero Conor Hazard ‘absolutely delighted’

The goalkeeper saved two shoot-out spot-kicks on his third appearance to help the Hoops retain the Scottish Cup.

By Press Association Published: 20 December 2020 - 7.18pm
Football

Scotland

Celtic

Conor Hazard was still struggling to come to terms with his status as Celtic hero after helping the Hoops to a thrilling William Hill Scottish Cup final win over Hearts.

Hazard saved two penalties in the shoot-out as Celtic secured an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble after a pulsating Hampden encounter ended 3-3 after extra time.

The 22-year-old Northern Ireland international only made his debut against Lille in the Europa League on December 10.

The boyhood Celtic fan kept his place last week against Kilmarnock and was again preferred to Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain for the delayed 2020 final at Hampden Park.

He said: “I don’t think it’s sunk it yet, and it’s been a crazy week and a half now.

“Three weeks ago, I would never have pictured this moment, so I’m just trying to take it all in my stride and take each day as it comes.

“In the course of the game, there were goals that we could have stopped but at the end of the day, we’re just delighted with the result and the momentous occasion, and I’m delighted, absolutely delighted.”

Celtic were two goals up after a dominant first-half display but Liam Boyce headed a goal back and Hearts twice equalised following set-piece goals to take the game to penalties.

Former Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon saved first, from Ryan Christie.

But Hazard immediately denied both Kingsley and Craig Wighton before Kristoffer Ajer drove home to take the cup back to Parkhead for a record fourth successive season and the 40th time in all.

Hazard said: “It doesn’t go through your mind becoming a hero. You just try to save each penalty as it comes, so I’m really delighted.

“There’s always a plan to try and make them go a certain way, and I’m just delighted it paid off. Woodsy (goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods) and I worked on it really hard ahead of the game, and did a lot of work on it, so I couldn’t be happier.

“It was a crazy day for me, but I’m glad it worked out. You don’t want to know what was going through my head at that point (after third goal).

“I was quite angry at the time but it was all about bouncing back and trying to get my composure back as quick as possible, which, thank God, I did.”

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