If yesterday’s performance against Rangers was any indication, it’s clear that it’s time to extend Jonny Hayes’ contract at Parkhead.
The winger stated only last month that he was open to staying on in Glasgow (The Herald). As of yet, the club have yet to offer him fresh terms despite the fact he’s now entering the final few months of his deal (Transfermarkt).
However, his display in the Betfred Cup final, despite not being fully-fit, shows just how valuable he’s become to Neil Lennon’s Celtic cause.
Hayes stated to BT Sport post-match that he wasn’t 100% fit for the final. Instead, he simply had to roll his sleeves up, dust himself down, and fight for the club. Who can honestly say he didn’t do that for 90 minutes?
In the first half, he was one of the only players who took responsibility. He often tried to find something to hit in the final third with some long balls to get us out, but he didn’t have a lot of options. Despite that, he was still keen to take the ball in tight situations and do his best to relieve the pressure.
A hard-working performance from a hard-working player
His second-half performance was just as warrior-like. He never shirked a challenge with James Tavernier or anyone else down his side of the pitch. In a game where not many stood out for Celtic, he was one who stood up.
So far this season he’s managed a total of 18 appearances in all competitions (Transfermarkt). His 18th of those should be the ink that signs the extension to his new deal too.
As things stand, we don’t have enough reliable cover outside of Hayes. Boli Bolingoli has proven to be a shrewd signing, but Greg Taylor still has plenty to prove. Having Hayes around gives us some solidity and, more importantly, reliability when we need it.
In recent weeks, Hayes has also been linked with a potential move to the Championship (Scottish Sun). If Celtic can tie him down, it would end any speculation over his future – something that’s bound to pick up in the coming months.
It also doesn’t help that Hayes will be allowed to talk to clubs during the final few months of the season in a bid to secure a future. Signing him up, something his body of work this season deserves, would halt any uncertainty.
There has yet to be any sign that the new deal is coming anytime soon. However, after his storming first-half of the campaign, he’s done enough to earn a future here.