Irish international Hayes praised after deferring full salary for a year

The 32-year-old winger made the offer which allowed Aberdeen to sign him following his Celtic exit.

Jonny Hayes has won four senior Ireland caps.
Jonny Hayes has won four senior Ireland caps.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Jul 6th 2020, 8:00 PM

ABERDEEN MANAGER DEREK McInnes has expressed his gratitude to Jonny Hayes for the gesture which has paved the way for the Dubliner to return to Pittodrie.

When announcing last month that Hayes was back for a second spell following his departure from Celtic, Aberdeen said the player had made “a significant financial sacrifice” in signing a two-year deal with the club that he departed in 2017.

After becoming a free agent on the back of a three-year stay at Celtic Park – during which he won three Scottish Premiership titles, two League Cups and one Scottish Cup – Hayes attracted interest from clubs in the English Championship and elsewhere in Scotland.

However, the 32-year-old winger instead returned to Aberdeen, where the first year of his salary will be deferred in order to aid the club’s recovery from the financial damage which has been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dons are facing projected losses of £10million which would otherwise have prevented them from completing a deal for the Republic of Ireland international.

“Jonny is a magnificent signing and a huge shot in the arm for everyone, including myself, that we managed to get him here,” McInnes told Aberdeen’s Evening Express.

“I am grateful for the gesture he made to allow it to happen. That shouldn’t be underplayed as it couldn’t have been done without Jonny’s gesture.

“Jonny does not want to make a huge deal of that. He just wants to concentrate on the job in hand and has been training brilliantly. It is great to have Jonny back.”

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Hayes, who has won four senior Ireland caps, was an immensely popular player during his previous stint at Aberdeen. As well as winning the League Cup in 2014, he was named Player of the Season in 2016 and was twice included in the SFA Premiership Team of the Year.

“Jonny gets the culture of the club and understands the demands,” McInnes added. “That’s important because not all new signings get that right away.

“Jonny loved his time here prior to moving. It was a blow when he left, there is no doubt about that. That was the end of an era for that team and Jonny was a huge part of that.”

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