Northern Ireland goalkeeper Conor Hazard has joined current Finnish champions HJK Helsinki on a year-long loan move from Celtic.
The 23-year-old, who has won three senior caps for his country, has struggled for game time with the Glasgow outfit this term but is hoping the move to Finland will provide the perfect platform to showcase his talents.
“It’s great to be here, I can’t wait to get started,” Hazard told the HJK website. “When I first heard about the transfer, I learned that Helsinki is a beautiful place to live and that HJK Helsinki is Finland's largest club.
“This is a great opportunity for me to show off my skills. It’s an honour to be at such a great club. I can hardly wait to get started.”
Hazard, who arrived at Celtic from Cliftonville in 2014, has made seven first team appearances for the Hoops, the most dramatic being the 2020 Scottish Cup final when he saved two spot kicks in the penalty shootout to secure the club the quadruple treble.
Hazard made his international debut for Northern Ireland under Michael O’Neill when he came on as a substitute in a 3-0 friendly defeat to Costa Rica in June 2018.
Since then he has picked up two further caps, versus the USA at Windsor Park last March and most recently in the 1-0 friendly victory against Estonia back in September.
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou believes the loan deal is the perfect move for Hazard to get some valuable first team experience under his belt.
“In HJK Helsinki we believe it will be a great environment for him. I know HJK and Celtic have enjoyed good co-operation before and I think the loan period will be very positive for everyone concerned,” he said.
This will be the netminder’s fourth loan spell away from Parkhead having previously enjoyed similar deals with Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Dundee respectively.