Jonny Hayes: Celtic preparation has been unbelievable

By David Walton

July 8, 2019

Jonny Hayes has hailed the Celtic preparation that the staff have put into pre-season.

Celtic open their campaign tomorrow night against Sarajevo in the first of four potential Champions League qualifiers. The match itself will be a bit of a delve into the unknown. Whilst Neil Lennon will be trying to find as much footage as he can, supporters generally won’t know what to expect from our first European foe.

The Hoops have once again used a hot weather training camp to build up their fitness ahead of the coming campaign. This has involved matches against Austrian sides Pinkafeld and Wiener Sportclub respectively. A final preparation match against Swiss side St Gallen ended the camp, and now it’s time for the nitty-gritty.

Jonny Hayes is ready to go once again (Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

But Hayes has revealed that the staff at Parkhead have been getting ready for this pre-season for as long as NINE months. Speaking in the Daily Record, our man had this to say:

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“You don’t ever think about having the job done in the first leg because that’s when you get your bum felt. If you go over there and be too cocky you can come back home trailing 2-0 with no away goals. It’s a two-legged tie no matter the outcome of the first game.

“You see that all over Europe, what happens when teams don’t take it seriously at that level. If you don’t prepare right. I wouldn’t call them strange results because it’s just one team being more prepared than the other. More often than not they deservedly go through.

“That preparation has been unbelievable with the amount of work the staff have done behind the scenes preparing for this pre-season, probably for the last nine months.”

Celtic preparation should lead to success in Bosnia

It feels as though there’s a point to prove for Celtic this season. Sure, it sounds odd considering we’re the eight-in-a-row, treble-treble champions of Scotland. But even so, in Europe in particular, we could do with making our mark on things once more.

Last year’s Greek tragedy means we have a point to prove this summer (MB Media/Getty Images)

Sarajevo may be the champions of Bosnia, but we would be kidding ourselves on if we pretended that nothing less than a win was acceptable there. A draw perhaps sees us head into the Parkhead leg in a strong position, but we have to show some strength.

A positive win in Bosnia takes some real pressure off of Lennon. It provides the place with a real morale-boost and gives us hope that we can make some serious inroads into the qualifiers this campaign.

Hayes praised the staff for their pre-season work (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Of course, it’s important to remember that the players won’t be 100%. Regardless of how much prep has gone into building pre-season and the training camp itself, some of our first-team regulars have only played around two games of football.

But the Bosnians are the same. Sarajevo have played two pre-season friendly matches and lost them both. They’re hardly a team we should be panicking about, whilst at the same time, we should be making sure homework is done on them so we’re not caught cold.