In wake of defeat, Jonny Hayes' lack of Celtic game time is perplexing

By John Reid

August 15, 2019

A lot of the fallout from Celtic’s disastrous loss to Cluj in Champions League has centred around the left-back situation in the game.

Neil Lennon decided to play Callum McGregor in the position, with desire results as the Hoops lost 4-3 on the night.

Would have made sense to start player

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Now, perhaps he wanted to shield Boli Bolingoli from criticism after an indifferent start to his Celtic career. But it would have made more sense to start Jonny Hayes at left-back than McGregor.

Hayes’ lack of game time this season is perplexing. He has played only 33 minutes of first-team football so far this season.

What makes the situation even more confusing is that last season Lennon played Hayes at left-back in some important fixtures, including the Scottish Cup Final.

Is not in manager’s plans

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

However, this season he does not seem to be in the manager’s plans. That has already proved to be costly. Would Hayes played better than McGregor did against Cluj? Who knows. He has played left-back far more often than McGregor has in his career though.

As Hayes seems to be on the margins, it will be interesting to see if any clubs come in for him before the end of the transfer window.

There’s no doubt Aberdeen would love to have him back at Pittodrie. It would not be the best move by Celtic though, as Hayes can still contribute on occasion.

However, he does not seem to be anywhere close to a first-team start at the moment.