Brendan Rodgers looks like selecting Jonny Hayes against Rangers

By David Walton

December 27, 2018

We may very well have made a big blunder last week, judging by Brendan Rodgers’ comments on Jonny Hayes.

We threw out the idea that Rodgers could very well have been looking to put Hayes in the shop window. Ahead of what simply must be a busy January for the club, Hayes could’ve been one of the few to depart. Or so we thought.

It would’ve made sense. Giving him a few runouts ahead of the transfer window could’ve easily increased interest. There’s still the small chance that was even the case.

Jonny Hayes could be set for his big break at Celtic all of a sudden (David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Rodgers, however, has come out and surprised everyone by bigging him up ahead of the Rangers clash on Saturday. Speaking in the Daily Record, the Celtic manager touched on him potentially performing at Ibrox.

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“I’ve known Jonny since he was 15.

“He has played a number of positions and can play wing-back or left-back, so he is pretty comfortable and has that speed and power to get forward.

“But as you see with his recovery when he got back, he has the work ethic as well. If he has to play there, or Emilio, then there is no problem.”

Bigging up the man you wouldn’t expect

Ahead of what’s going to be a must-win game, regardless of Celtic stretching their advantage, you would imagine Rodgers would’ve targeted Izaguirre for some praise if he was going to play him on Saturday.

The Honduran left-back would’ve been the likely candidate to replace Kieran Tierney this weekend. Even though he had a dreadful performance at Pittorie on Wednesday, you wouldn’t have thought Hayes would’ve been the number one replacement.

Emilio Izaguirre was poor at Pittodrie (David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Yet, Rodgers is clearly thinking about it. Hayes had a solid outing at Pittodrie against his former club. Is that enough to merit a start at Ibrox? Not particularly, but in the end it’s Rodgers’ decision.

Supporters aren’t likely to be overly-enthused at the prospect, but Hayes deserved their backing.

Of course, it could be the case that Rodgers does indeed start Izaguirre. Perhaps even Tierney if he can make it.

By the sounds of things, however, Hayes is being prepped for a Glasgow derby debut.