JONNY HAYES reckons Celtic went a long way to overcoming the hurt of losing to Steven Gerrard’s team at Ibrox in May with this afternoon’s 2-0 triumph.

Last season, the Hoops had already secured their eighth successive title following their 3-0 victory at Aberdeen, but the 2-0 loss a week later in Govan upset manager Neil Lennon and his players.

The champions went into today’s High Noon showdown on the back of two successive defeats against Gerrard’s team on their own pitch last term and many critics believed a hat-trick could be on the way.

It didn’t sit well with the Bhoys’ boss or his players that they were underdogs for the first Glasgow derby of the campaign.

Odsonne Edouard, with his FORTIETH goal for the club, got the ball rolling with a slick opener in the 32nd minute and Hayes, a late substitute for cramp victim Mikey Johnston, raced onto an Olivier Ntcham pass to net the killer second in stoppage-time.

Hayes, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “Winning the game is vital and we have managed to keep our 100 per cent domestic record, as well.

“Last couple of times we turned up here we didn’t perform.

“We owed this to ourselves. The manager is one of the best motivators in the game and he’s been hurting since that fixture.

“He drilled it into us that we need to start better in this fixture. We have worked hard on the training field this week and we’ve reaped the rewards of that.”

Man-of-the-Match Christopher Jullien added: “When you are a family on the field everything is much easier.

“I’m really very sorry about what happened to Nir Bitton but Hatem came inside and we finished the job.

“Everything is so good for us.”

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