JONNY HAYES is relishing the thought of playing alongside Scott Brown as opposed to be in the opposition line-up.
The Republic of Ireland international winger, bought for £1.3million from Aberdeen in the summer, admits he has felt the force of the Celtic skipper in the past.
Hayes, who also played for Inverness Caley Thistle, said: “After seven years being kicked up and down the park by Scott, I am happy to have him on my side now, trust me.
“To actually have him in my corner week in, week out, I am looking forward to that.
“In the pre-season game against Linz, I got hit with a couple of tackles and straight away he was over asking: ‘Are you all right?’ He is a proper captain.
“To be fair, I had met him a few times off the pitch in the past and he had always been brand new.
“Since joining Celtic, I have had that impression confirmed. He is a completely different person off the pitch.
“The first day I was having a chat with the gaffer and he came in and, straight away, he was laughing and joking.
“It has carried on from there. I am going to be 30 years old in a couple of days and Scott is reminding me of that fact every three hours.
“He has passed that milestone himself, so now he is on everybody else’s case.”
Hayes added: “Scott is a perfect example to any player.
“I would think he is at the peak of his career now and will be looking to kick on, not only next year but for years to come.
“In modern football, with all the advances in nutrition, fitness and the sports scientists, you are seeing careers prolonged.
“You know when people are good players, but witnessing it day in, day out, at training you can see there is a reason why Scott Brown is Scott Brown.
“The same way there is a reason Kieran Tierney has a reputation of being such a good young player.
“It is the work they put in. I am obviously seeing it first hand and I am enjoying it.
“I think it will take a while to adapt because the intensity of training is different and the way we play is different.
“There are a lot of things to pick up on. The sooner I can do that, the better because I am looking to get going as quickly as possible.
“Being away with the international team has given me the bonus whereby I have not had too much to catch up on in terms of fitness. It has given me the level.