Brendan Rodgers praises ‘outstanding’ Jonny Hayes as Irishman helps Celtic set cup record
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Brendan Rodgers praises ‘outstanding’ Jonny Hayes as Irishman helps Celtic set cup record

CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Irishman Jonny Hayes after he helped the club to a 5-0 win over St Johnstone.

The Dubliner started at left back against the Saints and made a fantastic run to set up James Forrest’s goal as Celtic set a new record of 24 consecutive victories in domestic cup ties.

A Scott Brown stunner and a hat-trick from Scott Sinclair completed the rout as Celtic broke the record set by Walter Smith’s Rangers between 1992 and 1994.

Today’s match was only Hayes’ fourth start of the season however Rodgers described his performance as ‘outstanding’.

“Scotty [Sinclair] ended up getting his hat-trick, Oliver Burke showing his pace, strength and power up front and Jonny Hayes was outstanding,” Rodgers told Celtic TV.

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“He hasn’t played a lot, but he steps in and lasts the game very well, so it was very pleasing.”

Hayes initially struggled to nail down a first team place after arriving from Aberdeen at the start of last season for £1million.

After finally getting a run of games and notching his first goal for the club, a broken leg in the 2017 St Stephen’s Day clash with Dundee ended his season.

Hayes started the first two Scottish Premiership games this term but did not appear in another domestic game until December.

The form of Ryan Christie and the arrival of Burke in January looked to have limited his options further amid speculation of a move in the transfer window.

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However an injury to Emilio Izaguirre – himself covering for the injured Kieran Tierney – against Hibs on Wednesday has opened the door for the Irishman.

With Celtic facing a busy schedule over the coming months as they compete on three fronts, Hayes could finally seize his chance to impress in Glasgow.

Celtic fans praised the Irishman for his display against the Saints today and for his attitude while he has bided his tim on the sidelines.

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