Celtic winger Jonny Hayes’ pressure levels were through the roof last Sunday thanks to his young son.
Hayes put in arguably his best display in a Celtic jersey yet against Aberdeen at Hampden last weekend. He was given the freedom of the left flank, and consistently caused the likes of Dominic Ball and Michael Devlin all sorts of problems.
The former Don won the penalty to make it 2-0 to the Hoops, and was a constant source of attacking flair. He was by far one of the biggest reasons Celtic strolled to the Scottish Cup final next month.
And now we know why. Hayes has been speaking in the Daily Record, and revealed that the onus was on him to deliver after a burning desire from his son. Here’s what the Celtic star had to say:
“My wife sent me a video message just before the game and it was the little fella saying, ‘Make sure you win, I want to go to the Final’. She had taken him to the safari park for the day.
“That was probably the biggest pressure I’ve had in a game, thinking about him! I walked in the door on Sunday evening and he was sitting there in his Celtic kit ready to go five weeks early.
“He’s four and Celtic daft. He’ll definitely be there, he’s guaranteed a ticket.”
Hopefully his son keeps the demands up
Hayes was evidently at his best last Sunday. He didn’t show any hesitancy in driving at the Aberdeen backline. When he shows that level of determination, he’s a tough winger to stop darting past you.
If his son managed to bring that out of him, here’s hoping his wife sets up a video chat before every game. It’s exactly the kind of performance Hayes needs to keep that left-wing spot his own.
But competition is only going to get tougher for him. Scott Sinclair, despite his inconsistency, has still bagged 17 goals this season. Neil Lennon isn’t likely to just forget about him altogether.
Next season, the likes of Lewis Morgan and Maryan Shved can also compete in that position. Mikey Johnston is another who could still be battling for the spot too, even if he could do with a loan move.
Left-wing is one of the positions you would expect Celtic to invest in this summer. It’s by far one of the weakest areas of the side, and the new manager has to sort it out before next season.
Hayes, however, is doing what he can to build a positive reputation at Parkhead. More performances like Sunday, and he’ll give any new manager this summer something to seriously think about.