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‘MY LEAGUE CUP AGONY AND ECSTASY,’ HAYES

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JONNY HAYES enjoyed – and endured – the last time he managed to get his hands on the League Cup.

The Republic of Ireland winger, who joined boyhood idols Celtic in the summer, was an Aberdeen player when they won the trophy in 2014.

The game against Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead ended goalless after extra-time, but Derek McInnes’ outfit were triumphant 4-2 in the penalty-kick shoot-out.

Hayes popped his collarbone in the first minute and had one arm in a sling when the silverware was being paraded.

However, it was agony all the way last term when Brendan Rodgers’ men routed the Dons 3-0 in a lopsided Hampden encounter.

The Hoops kick off the defence of the Cup against Kilmarnock at Parkhead this evening and Hayes admitted: “I haven’t got a great record in the League Cup.

“In the first Final, I didn’t mind going off as we took the trophy – that was the main thing. Luckily, it was light and small enough to lift it with one hand!

“I got injured after seven seconds, straight from kick-off. I knew I had hurt it straight away. It was a Cup Final, so I tried to carry on, but I knew it was no good.

“There was no point us being a man down. Richie Foran was an opponent that day, but also a good friend.

“A little bit of advice from him persuaded me it wasn’t worth risking a potentially serious injury, so I ended up coming off the pitch.

“I wouldn’t say I was devastated. I was more annoyed I couldn’t be on the pitch to help. Knowing if you were fit and could have a big influence was a big frustration.

“It wasn’t a great game to watch, but getting our hands on the trophy was the most important thing.”

Hayes added: “The second Final was really disappointing how it panned out.

“Everything was good until kick-off then downhill from there. We didn’t play well on the day, but we came up against a decent Celtic side.

“We couldn’t afford any slip-ups and, unfortunately, we had 11 that day on the pitch. I just forget about last season’s Final.

“The League Cup is an early chance to get a bit of silverware on the board with the Final in November. It’s an early target for us.”

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