Conor Hazard has declared himself ready for a daunting-looking debut after solving Dundee’s goalkeeping crisis.
The 21-year-old Northern Ireland international’s emergency loan move from Celtic to the Dark Blues was only completed yesterday.
The Dens men were forced to act after number one Jack Hamilton had to undergo an appendix operation.
Despite the tight timescale, manager James McPake is likely to throw Hazard straight into action against joint Championship leaders Ayr United at Somerset Park tonight.
If that does turn out to be the case, then the confident shot-stopper will accept the challenge with relish.
Hazard said: “Whatever the gaffer decides to do, I will be ready and willing.
“I have had games under my belt, including at international level with Northern Ireland, so I am ready to go.
“It should be a good game and I am looking forward to it.
“I hope to show my quality as a keeper.
“The Ayr game is live on television as well which gives an added dimension.
“This is different scenario from the clubs I’ve been on loan to before (Falkirk and Partick Thistle) because we are trying to get up to the Premiership.
“Prior to this, for me it has been a case of trying to stay up and scrape a point here and there.
“Here, there is pressure which I am relishing to be honest.
“That’s what you live for as a keeper. Everyone is looking at you.
“If an outfield player makes a mistake then there’s always someone else to cover but if a keeper makes a mistake, it’s a goal.
“Any goalie will tell you, though, that’s why they love their position. All eyes are on them.”
Hazard revealed how his hectic week panned out.
He said: “I was just in training at Celtic and working hard as ever.
“I then found out on Tuesday because of the unfortunate circumstances with Jack, who took unwell.
“I felt I needed game-time so when the opportunity came up I would have run all the way here – I was that keen.
“It’s a huge club – just massive for the Championship.
“Obviously, the aim is to get promotion back to the Premiership and hopefully I can do as much as I can to help us get back there.
“Team spirit is high so I am looking forward to the next few games.
“The training has also been of a really good standard and the boys have made me feel welcome.”
Hazard was happy to see a familiar face at Dens in the form of assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl, who is also on Michael O’Neill’s coaching team at Northern Ireland.
He said: “I’m delighted to be here with Jimmy.
“Every time I have been in and around the national team, Jimmy has been there.
“He is the focal point. He gives so much and has a lot to say.
“Whenever he speaks, everyone listens.
“It’s nice to come here and see a familiar face.
“Jimmy has helped me settle in already.”
The Ayr game will come too early for midfielder Jamie Ness but Paul McGowan, who was substituted due to tiredness in the 3-1 loss to Partick Thistle last Saturday, has fully recovered.