Jonny Hayes has revealed that he believes Kieran Tierney to be one of the best left-backs in Europe.
Hayes made the claim after the vital 1-0 win at Kilmarnock this evening. It came as he opened up on his role as a left-back and how he strives to perform in green-and-white.
The three points in Ayrshire ensured Celtic moved a massive step closer to the title. The Hoops are now eight points clear of second-placed Rangers with just 12 games remaining of the campaign.
And Hayes, who spoke to Sky Sports after a terrific display at Rugby Park, expressed his confidence in Tierney’s abilities.
“I quite enjoy it (the left-back role). We tend to dominate possession so it tends to be more of a wing-back role.
“Obviously I’ve watched people like Mika (Lustig) play for years now and I understand the role a bit better.
“Weirdly you’re up against someone 10 years younger than you in KT. But he’s up there with the best in Europe and obviously, I’ve picked up a few things along the way from him.”
Elements of Tierney in Hayes’ game today
Hayes interestingly explains there about how he has taken things from Tierney. If ever there was a day where that was evident, it was this afternoon at Rugby Park.
The former Aberdeen star was bombing up and down the left as both an attacking and defensive force. His ability to halt any threat from Chris Burke down the right was seriously on show. Yet, when the Hoops were attacking, he was always looking for the ball to get it into the penalty area.
Much of Hayes’ crosses today weren’t particularly up to par, however. Several floated balls into the area were easily held by Daniel Bachmann. It was only on the rare occasions he changed to whipped crosses that he got more joy.
But overall, it was a massive day for the Irishman at Killie. He put in a performance he can be proud of, and was up there for man-of-the-match contention.
Yet we all crave the return of Tierney. It’s clear the Scottish international is close to a return as he continues to train. It’s good to know, however, that Hayes looks like he could become a reliable figure in his absence.