The left-wing has proven to be a troublesome position for Celtic all season, but yesterday we found our answer.
It’s no real surprise that the answer came in the form of Jonny Hayes either. The former Aberdeen player is a regular tormentor of his former club, and proved to be so once again at Hampden.
The Irishman won the penalty that fired Celtic 2-0 ahead against the Dons. Odsonne Edouard dispatched it, with James Forrest and Tom Rogic bagging the first and third goals respectively. It was enough to send Celtic to their third consecutive Scottish Cup final, and Hayes was at the heart of it.
He was up for it early on. He breezed past Dominic Ball with ease in the early stages, and put some dangerous crosses into the box. On the day, his final ball was a tad lacking, but the areas Hayes got into were extremely promising.
The former Dons man then exploded into life in the second half. He was constantly available to receive the ball, and got into more good crossing areas. Some top awareness and control got him into the position to win the penalty kick.
Overall, we were finally able to see some productivity down the left side. It was a lot more effective than any of Scott Sinclair’s recent outings. And, at this moment in time, Hayes deserves a run in what’s his favourite position.
A big-game performer
It’s not the first time he’s stepped up in a big game for Celtic down the left either. He’s featured at left-back on several occasions since signing from Pittodrie back in the summer of 2017. And on just about every occasion, Hayes has never let us down.
Against Aberdeen yesterday, he linked up well with Kieran Tierney, and both looked on the same wavelength.
Sinclair was given the closing stages against nine men, but continued to look like a man with no confidence. He doesn’t deserve to be first-choice at left-mid, and it’s looking like Neil Lennon agrees.
Lewis Morgan remains on-loan at Sunderland, whilst Oliver Burke hasn’t featured in that position for the Hoops either despite being capable of it.
Hayes proved he could be the solution we’ve been looking for. It’s down to Lennon to keep some faith in him, however.
Next Sunday, Celtic travel to Easter Road in a game that could win us the league should Rangers slip up at Hearts on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see if Hayes is entrusted by Lennon once more.