When Celtic winger Jonny Hayes suffered a broken leg in December 2017, he feared he’d made the wrong decision in moving to Glasgow.
Hayes had yet to make any impact at Parkhead before his injury. He had just scored against former club Aberdeen, and was finally being given a chance by former manager Brendan Rodgers.
It was Hayes’ first real run of games, before disaster soon struck. Hayes broke his leg and was out of action until the start of the 2018/19 campaign. Even now, Hayes has only picked up 16 appearances due to mostly being out-of-favour.
But Neil Lennon’s return to Parkhead as interim boss has rejuvenated the Irishman. The left-winger has featured in the last four Hoops matches, and told Clyde 1 that he was enjoying his football once more.
“Since I had the injury I’ve decided that every moment I have on the pitch is there to be cherished. I just love getting out there and if I can contribute in a positive way then all the better.
“It’s been all a bit stop-start since I came to the club. When I got injured, to be honest, I did worry this move might not work out. I broke my leg and two or three months into the rehab I was still feeling the pain every day.
“I didn’t know if I was going to come back and there were times when you think you’ll never get back to being the same player. That has just made me all the more determined to make the most of the opportunities I get. Every game from here on in is a big game and I need to grab them with both hands”
One of the quickest renaissances in recent times
As early as January, the association of Hayes and Celtic didn’t look like working out. The winger was being linked with a loan move back to Aberdeen, and it looked like a matter of time before he would leave regardless.
Now, however, he has a genuine claim to being the first-choice left-winger. He put in a terrific second-half performance against his former club yesterday, and played well against Rangers and Dundee recently too.
Since signing for the club back in the summer of 2017, Hayes hasn’t had the confidence he has now. This is a genuine opportunity to seriously kick on and make a name for himself in Glasgow.
Considering how bleak it looked for him after that leg break, he deserves massive praise for his performances since returning.
But will Neil Lennon now see him as the first choice down the left? Let us know if you feel Hayes deserves the chance to make that spot his own in the comments below.