Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hailed the weekend display of utility man Jonny Hayes against Motherwell, The Scottish Sun report.
Hayes was tasked, for the second successive match, with filling in for injured left-back Boli Bolingoli.
The veteran Irishman has not had a huge amount of starting chances since making the move to the club but is relishing his squad role under Lennon.
The manager has not been afraid to use him in a more defensive role than his career playing history would suggest he is capable.
It’s certainly worked recently. The 32-year-old was named the man of the match in the stadium during yesterday’s 2-0 win over the Steelmen.
Lennon was delighted, telling The Scottish Sun: “He knows his role within the parameters of the squad.
“His fitness levels, pace and enthusiasm are fantastic and his game intelligence is improving all the time. I thought he was wonderful. It was probably his best game.
“He’s played in some big games for me — a cup final, a semi-final, a game against Rangers — and he hasn’t let me down.”
The summer arrivals of left-winger Mohamed Elyounoussi and defender Greg Taylor certainly threated Hayes’ role in the Celtic squad. There didn’t seem to be any way that he’d be considered a player starting some of our biggest matches.
Lennon though is clearly a fan. The strength of his comments above suggests Taylor in set to face a long wait to get regular Hoops action. With the return of Boli Bolingoli to consider, the former Killie man looks third-choice at the moment.
I wouldn’t suggest Hayes has a long-term future at the club, but at the moment he’s playing as well as anyone and that must be commended.
He’s had his doubters, and I’ve been one, but if he continues to shine while showing passion, confidence and quality, then there’s not much credibility to arguments he should drop out.