Neil Lennon has drawn back from putting too much pressure on 22-year-old goalkeeper Conor Hazard but has acknowledged that he sees comparisons between the stopper and Craig Gordon.

Hazard was handed the gloves for Thursday night’s game against Lille and could hang on to them for today’s visit of Kilmarnock.
With neither Vasilias Barkas or Scott Bain looking confident in goal, it could be that Hazard is next in line to offer his case for breaking into the senior side.

“It is a bit early to make that comparison,” said Lennon. “Craig is an outstanding goalkeeper, one of Scotland’s finest ever but I can see the similarities.

“Conor is a good size, he is another lefty, he makes good saves and spreads himself well. I am sure Craig would have had a real positive influence on his development up to this point.

“I though he did really well [on Thursday]. He has been training very well over the last couple of months and I had spoken to him about playing in this match and I thought he jumped at the chance.

“He was very accomplished and that he handled the occasion very well.

“We have seen a real improvement in him over the last couple of months in terms of his maturity. His performances have been absolutely excellent.

“He has earned the right and we were delighted with him.”

Meanwhile, despite the turbulence around the club Lennon has insisted that the player should relish next weekend’s Scottish Cup final against Hearts, a game that could enable the club to win an unprecedented quadruple treble.

“If I was a player still I would want to be part of it,” said Lennon. “It is a hugely exciting period. We have to chase down our rivals in the league and have a Cup Final coming up which is something to really look forward to.

“We will be out to achieve another great accomplishment against a very accomplished Hearts team. They are well coached and have some Premiership players, no question about that.”

Although the Celtic manager has accepted that it is yet another occasion that will be odd given the lack of supporters in the stadium.

“I don’t like the no fans thing,” he said. I think it is excruciating sometimes. The Lille game was a very good game, it was competitive, lot of good players on show, some really good foals and you miss the atmosphere.

“You have to adapt but I know the players have really missed the backing of the fans. You have to push them on. We have to accept it and not hide away from it. We need to get a run together so in the second half of the season we can be really strong and competitive.”