Jonny Hayes happy to help Celtic at left-back

By Hamish Carton

July 8, 2019

Celtic man Jonny Hayes insists he’s happy to fill in at left-back in the absence of Kieran Tierney.

The Republic of Ireland international has become Neil Lennon’s favoured man in the position during Tierney’s recent time on the sidelines and he’s coped pretty well considering. Hayes started the Scottish Cup final in the deeper position and could also be in line to play in Sarajevo on Tuesday night.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And despite the role not being too familiar, he still says he’s happy to help out.

Hayes told The Herald: “I’m just happy to be playing football. Kieran should be back soon enough, maybe in a couple of weeks.

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“It won’t be a long-term thing with a player of Kieran’s calibre here. I’m just enjoying playing football in whatever position I’m in.

“Playing in Europe can be a little bit more intense, you are more like a defender than a wing-back which is what it can turn into in a domestic game.

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

“Wingers can come in and out of games. Having a defensive role has helped me with my concentration, knowing not to switch off.

“Players are constantly talking to me, Kris Ajer for instance has an old head on young shoulders.”

Should Hayes start at left-back for Celtic in Bosnia?

Neil Lennon has a number of interesting calls to make in the Bosnian capital on Tuesday night. One of the main ones will be whether to continue with Hayes at left-back or to throw in new recruit Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

While the Northern Irishman may be tempted to start the pacey Belgian, he should weigh up his options carefully. Hayes has proven himself to be an able player at full-back. He isn’t exactly going to be a bombscare and he can get up and down the pitch effectively.

(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old started our most recent European match in the Mestalla and had a solid game against impressive opposition. If he can handle a stage like that then he should be ready for Sarajevo.

There’s no doubt that Bolingoli-Mbombo will be a better option in the future. But given his lack of training time with the squad, it may be best for Lennon to go with what he knows in Bosnia.