Football

Celtic Exit Somewhat Of A Surprise For Jonny Hayes

Celtic Exit Somewhat Of A Surprise For Jonny Hayes

Celtic announced on Saturday that Ireland international winger Jonny Hayes would be leaving the club.

The Dubliner played 68 times for Celtic over three seasons.

Even though he was due to be out of contract this summer, it came as somewhat of a surprise to him that he would not be retained at Parkhead. He had discussions with Celtic manager Neil Lennon which suggested he was still in his plans.

"I spoke to Neil Lennon a couple of days before the Rangers game back in December," the 32-year-old told Talksport.

"He was aware I was out of contract in six months and (said) he’d like me to stay.

"As the season went on we had similar conversations. He was quite keen for me to stay and saw me as part of his plans. I had the same conversations with (assistant manager) John Kennedy."

Hayes isn't sure what exactly changed between those conversations and this week.

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"When it comes down to the decision being made this week, I don’t know if the financial impact the virus has had on Scottish football has contributed to it or not," he said.

"But I wasn’t being phased out, I was still playing regularly, in the team or off the bench, up until this virus struck.

"It’s always hard to think about leaving a club when you’re heavily involved in the team.

"Maybe if I stayed, I might not have got as much game time. I’m a little bit older now, it’s probably better for me to go out and play a bit more regularly."

Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

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