JONNY HAYES is going the right way about earning a new deal at Celtic, admits boss Neil Lennon.
The Republic of Ireland international, 32, is out of contract at the end of the summer and has admitted he is just taking the situation “day by day”, as reported in CQN last week.
However, he made a fair case for an extension with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the 2-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead yesterday when he took over the left-back position in place of the injured Boli Bolingoli.
The Hoops gaffer opted for Hayes, who cost £1.3million when he arrived from Aberdeen in 2017, over Greg Taylor, who has made only one appearance since his £2.25million switch from Kilmarnock on transfer deadline day.
The versatile performer put in a storming 90 minutes and was instrumental in the second kill when his whiplash left-wing cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Richard Tait with Olivier Ntcham and Jeremie Frimpong waiting to pounce at the far post.
Asked if the Dublin-born player was making a solid case to stay at the champions, Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, admitted: “He is, yeah. Jonny is popular with the other players and he has shown a real reliability, quality and confidence.
“The pace he brings down that left-hand side, he put in several good crosses today. He can play wing-back, midfield or left-back. I’m so happy with him and happy for him.
“He knows his role within the parameters of the squad. His fitness levels are fantastic, his pace is fantastic along with his enthusiasm for the game.
“His game intelligence is improving all the time. I thought he was wonderful, so he has been a real plus for me. It was probably his best game.
“But he has played in some big games for me – a Cup Final, a semi-final, a game against Rangers. He has not let me down. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he does a brilliant job for us.”