Jonny Hayes’ performance yesterday certainly caught the eye of Celtic supporters.
The Irishman put in a display of the highest efficiency at left-back against St Johnstone. He also rounded off his 90-minute show with a terrific assist for James Forrest’s goal and Celtic’s third of the afternoon.
In a display that helped Celtic march to the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup, Hayes thrived. He constantly showed for the ball and also never allowed Matthew Kennedy to get the better of him.
An injury to Emilio Izaguirre against Hibernian gave Hayes his opportunity yesterday. And, reacting to it on Twitter, some supporters seemed pleased with the deputy’s display.
I've been critical of Johnny Hayes since he arrived at #Celtic , but that was exceptional to set up Forrest 👏👏👏
— Dom Oliver (@DominicOliver82) February 10, 2019
A Sunny Day at Celtic Park..
Shout out to Johnny Hayes,Olly Burke..
Toljan, Sinclair, Brown ( WHAT a goal) will get most plaudits..
But Hayes & Burke – unsung heroes for me..
Rarely seen such a TEAM performance..
— Rory MacLeod (@OnThe4and) February 10, 2019
Johnny Hayes taking no prisoners today.
That how fired up players should be when they get their chance in the first team.
— Sagan (@Bazilragazzo) February 10, 2019
Thought Hayes did a great job today 🍀
— celtic jaime 🍀 (@jaimelawson08) February 10, 2019
🍀Superb by Celtic today, thought Johnny Hayes was excellent, perfect hangover cure, 5 brilliant goals #celtic 🍀🍀⭐️
— Alex Milobinder (@Yossarian_sco) February 10, 2019
Celtic were perfect today. Absolutely perfect back to front. Round of applause to Jonny Hayes for a great shift as makeshift left back. More than adequate for this level, Valencia will be very different but ‘tis certainly better than putting CalMac there. #CELSTJ #CELTIC
— Dominik Diamond (@DominikDiamond) February 10, 2019
I thought Hayes was MOTM today. Scott Sinclair and his three goals an obvious choice but Hayes worked very hard.
— Celtic Underground (@celticrumours) February 10, 2019
Everyone goin on about Brown and Sinclair but Jonny Hayes was immense the day.
— Alan Samaras Beanz (@Beanzy_Bhoy) February 10, 2019
Unpopular view but Jonny Hayes is a miles better option than Emilio now. Miles quicker and always has been and get forward better #CelticFC
— Steven Patrick McNamara #GTTO (@Mcnamara9S) February 10, 2019
Does Brendan Rodgers take one almighty risk?
There’s no denying Hayes generally had a good game against Saints. It was just his third start of the season, and in a position that isn’t his natural one. In that respect, he did extremely well.
He linked up well with Scott Sinclair and went on a storming run to set up Forrest. It was more of the Hayes Celtic supporters saw coming up against them when he was at Aberdeen. He was full of running and had a point to prove. A dangerous combination when he’s up for it.
But there’s also no denying that Valencia is a massive ask for Hayes. He hasn’t played in European competition at any stage of his career outside of qualifying matches.
Throwing him in against Valencia would be an entirely hopeful move. Instead, it’s safest to give Izaguirre the slot if he’s close to full fitness.
There’s still, of course, an outside chance of Kieran Tierney coming back for Thursday night, but question marks would surely remain over his fitness levels.
Regardless, that’s all for another day. Hayes did extremely well on his return to the starting line-up yesterday and deserves immense credit for it.
For him, it’s subsequently important he tries to build on it and starts showing more of the form that made Celtic move for him back in the summer of 2017.