Jonny Hayes’ departure from Celtic was a fleeting rumour over the course of January, and Brendan Rodgers has confirmed it could easily have become reality.
Hayes has been bereft of luck since signing for the Champions back in the summer of 2017. A broken leg last season just as he was building up some momentum halted his progress in cruel fashion.
But yesterday he was given a massive reprieve. Thanks to an injury to Emilio Izaguirre, Hayes was given just his third start of the season. Sections of the support were certainly impressed by his performance too.
Yet, Rodgers has confirmed just how close he was to leaving Parkhead in January. Speaking at a press conference via 90 Minute Cynic on YouTube, Rodgers opened up on Hayes’ options.
“There was some options for him but I told him that I couldn’t let him go. He’s a wonderful player for the team.
“If he’s playing in any other team he’s playing probably every week.
“He had the chance to go but yeah, I couldn’t afford to let him and days like today demonstrate that.”
Hayes proved something today
At the end of January, we certainly gave our strong view on how we believed that Hayes should’ve been allowed to depart.
TEAMtalk reported back in January that Aberdeen was back in for Hayes. After struggling for so long at Parkhead, and failing to convince in any of his previous seven appearances before the winter break, it looked like the best move to let him go.
But fast forward a month and Hayes is helping out in what’s becoming a bit of a left-back crisis. It goes without saying that everyone will be hoping Izaguirre is fit for Thursday night. Despite the Hayes performance vs St Johnstone, Valencia offer much stiffer opposition.
But perhaps Rodgers didn’t make such a bad decision after all in keeping the Irishman. For a game such as yesterday, he showed that when on his game he does add some value.
Question marks will now remain over his consistency levels. Can he perform on a regular basis? Will he even get the chance to? These are the kind of questions we’ll be getting answers to over the next couple of weeks.