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Irish international took '30 seconds' to decide on Celtic move

Jonny Hayes says he was keen to join the Scottish champions, despite interest from English clubs.

Jonny Hayes' move to Celtic was recently confirmed.
Jonny Hayes' move to Celtic was recently confirmed.

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL JONNY Hayes says he did not have to think too hard once he was given the chance to join Celtic.

After an impressive season with Aberdeen during which he was nominated for the Scottish PFA Player of the Year, the 29-year-old said he took little time to decide on a move to the reigning champions after receiving a call from their manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Dubliner, who has four Ireland caps — the most recent of which was earned in the 3-1 friendly victory over Uruguay earlier this month — was officially unveiled at Celtic Park today.

“I first found out about Celtic’s interest just after the Scottish Cup final,” he told the club’s official site. “I spoke to Aberdeen and they told me that Celtic had been in touch and were interested in taking me. As soon as Aberdeen gave Celtic permission to speak to me, I spoke to Brendan – the manager now – and within 30 seconds I knew I wanted to come.”

Hayes had also been linked with a move to the Championship, with Birmingham City and Cardiff among the clubs rumoured to be interested, but in the end he could not resist the prospect of joining the Bhoys.

There was a chance that I might have gone down to England but as soon as Celtic became involved, this was the only place I wanted to be. I wasn’t tempted at all to go down south.

“I tried to get my head round the possibility if the deal fell through and I had to move to England, but speaking to my wife, she knew that my heart was set on Celtic from the minute I spoke to the manager.”

Hayes acknowledges that playing regularly in his new club’s starting XI will be a challenge, but the former Reading youngster feels he is capable of featuring week in week out.

When I spoke to the manager, he said that the squad had been quite flexible last season, adapting to different formations, and he sees me as part of that — and that was enough for me.

“I was just delighted at the prospect of coming to Celtic so I didn’t go into too much detail about it, but I’m sure he sees a place for me.”

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Paul Fennessy

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