Why Celtic offering a new deal to Jonny Hayes isn’t a necessity
Hayes, who joined Celtic from Aberdeen back in 2017, has expressed his desire to extend his stay with the reigning Scottish champions beyond the end of the ongoing season. (h/t Glasgow Evening Times)
The versatile left-footed winger found himself drafted into the playing XI in an unfamiliar left-back role ahead of Greg Taylor and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo for Celtic’s trip to Lazio on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Europa League.
The 32-year-old played his part perfectly well, as the Hoops staged a comeback to register a 2-1 victory in Rome.
Born in Dublin, Jonny Hayes rose through the youth ranks of Reading but he never made a senior competitive appearance for his boyhood club and spent time on loan at MK Dons and Forest Green Rovers in the lower divisions before completing a permanent transfer to Leicester City.
However, his move to Leicester City didn’t pan out according to the script and Hayes found himself shipped out on loan to Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town before a move north of the border to Inverness Caledonian Thistle helped him get his career back on track.
The 4-cap Republic of Ireland international guided Inverness to the Scottish Premiership, following a promotion-winning campaign in the second-tier in his debut season. He went on to register over a 100 appearances before Aberdeen came calling for his services in 2012.
Impressive returns of 30 goals and 70 assists in 207 appearances for the Dons across all competitions paved the way for a move to Celtic back in 2017.
The 32-year-old made only 13 league appearances last term after his first season at Celtic had been brought to a premature end by a long-term injury.
And things have hardly taken a dramatic turnaround for the veteran this time, with Neil Lennon preferring Southampton loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi, Mikey Johnston, James Forrest, Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair for a place out wide on the flanks.
Evidently, the 32-year-old is way down the pecking order under Lennon, who has shown an inclination to focus on the development of younger players like Johnston and Morgan.
Notwithstanding the fact that Jonny Hayes has occasionally emerged from the cold as a big-game specialist for Lennon, it would be better for Celtic to refrain from handing him fresh terms.
The Irishman, who boasts of a wealth of experience and sound know-how of the Scottish game, has shown that he is capable of doing a job when called into action.
At 32, however, Celtic should be wise enough to allow him to move on at the end of his present contract.
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It might sound a bit harsh but it would be fair to say that the likes of Bitton and Sinclair have done a lot more than Hayes in recent years to earn new deals at Celtic.
With that in mind, Celtic parting ways with Jonny Hayes next summer could be a fair settlement for all parties involved.