There was one notable omission from the squad last night that took us by surprise – Jonny Hayes.
The Irishman looked impressive for 45 minutes on Sunday against Rangers. Bombing up and down the left, he was always looking to fire some dangerous crosses into the penalty area.
Considering he was on a yellow card, it seemed logical for Neil Lennon to take him off at half-time. Rangers were down to 10 men, and the last thing Celtic wanted was to level that up.
But, last night, he was nowhere to be seen against the Buddies in a match that looked tailor-made for him. Instead, Celtic fielded Emilio Izaguirre in place of Kieran Tierney.
Hayes shouldn’t be feeling leggy or tired, he hasn’t played enough games for that. He’s had just 14 games this season, and only two in the last month.
No previous sign of it
Lennon explained that he was suffering from the mental side of Sunday’s game before taking him off. But that’s not exactly a physical knock that can carry over to the next match.
Hayes also took part in an exclusive interview with the Celtic View (Volume 54, Issue 36, Pages 22 and 23). In that interview, he touched on looking ahead to the St Mirren fixture. So there was apparently no sign of an injury immediately after the Rangers game.
Perhaps this was just more squad rotation from Lennon. After all, Izaguirre hadn’t played since the 2-0 home defeat to Valencia. The interim boss may have just been looking to give the Honduran another run-out given the circumstances and the opposition we were facing.
Hopefully, this gets cleared up one way or another. Hayes desperately deserves some luck at Parkhead, as it’s fair to say he’s hardly had any since he joined. Just when it looks like he’s making inroads into the starting XI, he seems to pick up an injury or is set back in some way.
On Saturday, we take on Livingston at Parkhead. Here’s hoping our unlucky Irishman can get himself back in the squad – he certainly deserves it.