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Wednesday 12 Jul 2023
Hazard and Southwood on the move

Goalkeeper Conor Hazard has left Celtic after being snapped up by last season’s EFL League One champions Plymouth Argyle on a three year-deal. 

The 25-year-old from Downpatrick, who has four international caps to his name, arrives at Argyle for an undisclosed fee after spending nine years at Celtic Park. 

Speaking to the club website, Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher said:  “I am very pleased to have signed Conor. He comes to us from a huge football club, so we know he will have been taught superbly.

“He has international experience and all the fundamentals required to be a top goalkeeper. Conor will complement and challenge our current team of excellent goalkeepers, and we look forward to seeing him in action.” 

Hazard made seven first team appearances during his nine seasons with the Glasgow outfit though he did gain valuable experience during loan spells at Falkirk, Partick Thistle, Dundee and last season with HJK of Finland. 

In a hugely successful eight months with HJK in Helsinki the 6ft 5ins keeper not only helped them to their 32nd league title but was also named Finnish Goalkeeper of the Season.

Argyle’s Director of Football Neil Dewsnip added: “Conor had a brilliant year in Finland with HJK where – like us – he became a champion last season. That is the kind of player we always strive to recruit; people with a champions mentality, which we will need in the season ahead.” 

Another Northern Ireland goalkeeper on the move is Luke Southwood, who has returned to Cheltenham Town on a permanent basis following a successful loan spell with the League One side last season.    

Southwood has signed a 12-month contract with the Robins following his release by Reading last month. 

“I'm buzzing to finally get it done,” said the 25-year-old, who kept 16 clean sheets for Town last term. “It's something I have wanted pretty much the whole window so I’m glad to get it done. 

“It was such a good season last year. I enjoyed it and learned so much and we’ve got such a good group here. 

“The fans were definitely a big factor. When you feel support like that, you can’t wait to get going and play in front of them again.”