Fixture congestion for Bairns with Hazard call

Conor Hazard has been called up to Michael O'Neill's squad. Picture Michael Gillen.
Conor Hazard has been called up to Michael O'Neill's squad. Picture Michael Gillen.

International call-ups on both sides have forced the second postponement of Falkirk’s trip to St Mirren.

The Buddies have Lewis Morgan, Kyle Magennis and Liam Smith called up for Scotland under-21 duty next weekend, while Falkirk goalkeeper Conor Hazard was called into Michael O’Neill’s senior Norther Ireland squad for their friendly match against South Korea next weekend.

The Bairns also have Jonny Mitchell away with the under-17 Scots and Cieran Dunne called up for Ireland.

That has forced the second switch of the fixture which was originally set for Tuesday, February 27 but moved as both clubs could accomodate a fixture on a free Saturday. But they’ll now meet on Tuesday, April 17 when Hazard will be free to play and on a high from his national recognition.

The on-loan Celtic man said: “It’s an honour and good to know the hard work I’ve put in since coming here is being noticed and paying off.

“Coming to Falkirk was a great help, playing games and getting out there, and I’m looking forward to next week.

“I dont have any under-21 caps - I’ve only ever been on the bench so this is going to be great for my CV and I’ll be alongside some great goalkeepers to test myself against and hopefully I make an impression.”

And Paul Hartley said there was never any chance of pulling the keeper out of his big opportunity.

The Bairns boss said: “It’s a feather in his cap to be called up for Michael’s team. They have been aware of him, watching and asking about him.

“It’s good for Celtic and good for Falkirk that we have a player getting game time and a player called up. We are giving players an opportunity they maybe wouldn’t get at bigger clubs with development football. Hopefully we can have more players on loan next season, and they’ll know come to a good environment and an opportunity and a team who hopefully will progress.

“We were not going to stand in Conor’s way – that wouldn’t be fair – it’s an opportunity.”

Falkirk’s development side faced Hazard’s parent club on Tuesday night and won 4-1 at Lennoxtown with two goals for Kevin O’Hara added to Conor Langton and Rory Loy strikes.