One of the talking points after Sunday was the potential idea of providing new contracts to Jonny Hayes and Nir Bitton.
The pair both made a huge impact in the derby against Steven Gerrard’s side. Hayes came on late in the second half to seal the game with his first goal of the season. Bitton, meanwhile, strolled things at the back before coming off with a knock.
There’s no denying it was an impressive performance from the pair of fringe players. And, with a bit of luck, it propels their confidence and consistency levels.
There also is no getting away from the fact that both are out of contract this summer (Daily Record). In a way, as well as fighting for nine-in-a-row, the duo are also fighting for their Celtic futures. But it’s important the club don’t just cave in on the back of Sunday and tie both players up.
Firstly, Hayes needs to do a lot more than he has done over the Neil Lennon era to earn a new deal. In total, he’s featured only three times this season. Before that, he played nine times under Lenny towards the end of last term. But despite his consistent outings, he never overly-impressed.
Hayes and Bitton must work hard for new contracts
His Ibrox goal was terrific opportunism, but it was also fortunate after he missed the initial effort. If he’s to earn a stay at Parkhead, it simply must come on the back of a consistent run of valuable contributions.
Bitton is in a different boat considering he’s started the season extremely well. Chosen by Lennon to be his centre-back cover when provided, he’s been letting nobody down.
The Israeli has managed 11 outings in green-and-white this year, and has looked a composed figure. Neil Lennon stated in the Celtic View that he expects a big year from Bitton, however (Volume 55, Issue 06, Page 04). That suggests that he’ll be fighting over the course of the season to say at the club and earn a new deal.
That’s exactly the way it should be. It’s easy to get over-elated after a fine derby win such as Sunday. Both Hayes and Bitton played big parts in it too. But it’s also important to remember that, in isolation, it’s just one game.
If both players want to stay at Parkhead next season, it should take a lot more than that before their respective futures here are secured.
The duo will know that, and both men remain extremely hard-working individuals. Hopefully, we continue to see more positive performances from both as the season rolls on.