Jonny Hayes may just about be able to see the fringes of the Celtic first-team again. The Irishman featured in just two of our last ten matches of 2019 – with both appearances coming at left-back. It’s easy to forget that that’s not the position we originally signed him for.
When Hayes joined the club prior to the 2017/2018 season, he was seen as a winger. That’s where he’d enjoyed the vast majority of his career with the likes of Aberdeen and Inverness Caley Thistle, and where he was expected to carry on in Glasgow.
Somewhere down the line, he became a full-back. It was probably some point at the end of last season, at a time when Kieran Tierney was injured and Emilio Izaguirre was nowhere to be seen.
It continued this term to the extent where Hayes was started ahead of Greg Taylor away to Lazio, as well as the Betfred Cup final against Rangers. He did a job on both occasions, but surely he’d much rather play further up the pitch.
Hayes can offer more on the left-wing
If you asked Hayes for his views you can bet your bottom dollar his response would be: “I’m happy to play wherever the gaffer puts me.” That answer makes great copy, but surely Hayes would rather be in his natural position.
A fortnight ago, he had virtually been discarded as a credible wing option. He had four players ahead of him in the position and it was felt that he had more of a chance of playing in defence.
Now, however, the recent departure of Scott Sinclair, shortly to be followed by Lewis Morgan, means that Hayes is probably up to third in the pecking order.
Mohamed Elyounoussi and Mikey Johnston may both be pretty invaluable at present, but that doesn’t mean that Hayes can’t have designs on getting some minutes under his belt.
Furthermore, his ability to play on the wing should limit the need for us to bring in another left-sided player this month. He’s almost like a new signing.