Neil Lennon had a big decision to make for Celtic’s trip to Rome when Boli Bolingoli was ruled out of the Europa League clash against Lazio.
He had to decide if to start Greg Taylor, or Jonny Hayes in the game. Lennon made the brave decision to start Hayes, and he played him as part of five players in the middle of the park.
At first the decision looked to be the wrong one as Celtic went a goal behind early on. However, the Hoops grew into the game, and won 2-1 to record their first ever win in Italy.
Performance vindicated manager’s decision
Hayes’ performance vindicated Lennon’s decision to start him. He has solid in defence, and was a constant threat going forward, as Celtic created plenty of chances. It is not an exaggeration to say that it was Hayes’ best performance for the Hoops.
Hayes’ performance was good that it can be argued that it has earned him a new contract with the Hoops. His contract expires at the end of the season. However, he has shown this season that he is a more than useful player to have in the Celtic squad.
More than capable of doing a job for the team
Hayes will never be a player who starts every game for Celtic. But he showed in Rome that he is capable of doing an excellent job when asked by Neil Lennon.
It will be interesting to see when Hayes makes his next start for Celtic. It might not be for a few weeks, especially if Boli Bolingoli gets fit in the next few weeks.
Hayes can be depended upon though when he plays for the Hoops. That has been shown in Rome, and when he came on as a substitute when he scored the second goal in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox.
That form should be rewarded with a new contract sooner rather than later.