Post-Match with A Celtic State of Mind – Heeere’s Jonny: Hayes Shines Again

Prior to our return to Paradise, A Celtic State of Mind’s Alan Morrison had this to say before the visit of Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell:

“The big games keep on coming for Celtic as they seek to keep the Roman candle lit. On the back of an historic away win at Lazio, third place Motherwell come calling. There should be more fireworks.

The visitors have been highly efficient operators thus far. Apart from the aberration of a loss to Ross County, their other set-backs have been against
Aberdeen, Celtic and The Rangers. They have consistently picked up points against the bottom six contenders. Don’t be surprised if they maintain this form.

Credit has to be given to Manager Robinson. From an avowedly ‘route one’ approach in the season they got to two cup finals, they are now a fine footballing side. This is based partly on consistency of selection. The midfield trio of Campbell (steel), Donnelly (5 goals at 0.6 per game) and Polworth (creativity – 6 assists at 0.51 per game) are a perfect blend. The defence tends to be settled too, anchored on the impressive Declan Gallagher. In attack, Robinson perms any 3 from 5 and tends to substitute amongst this group.

With 20 goals in the SPFL, they are 3 ahead of the next highest outside the Glasgow sides. They are third for shots taken, shots on target and joint top for shot accuracy (44%). Their league position is no fluke.

But do not think the robustness has disappeared. They lead the league with 27 yellow cards added to two red. Only erstwhile Levein’s Hearts have a higher average disciplinary points per game (21.27 to 20.67).

Although they have conceded 17, they can perhaps feel slightly aggrieved from the 2-5 reverse against the champions on match-day two. Celtic scored from all 5 shots on target and, with a game xG of 2.752, certainly got the rub that day.

There have been 78 goals in the 23 matches the pair have played this SPFL season. So, expect goals on Sunday.”

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As predicted, the goals did arrive. Two of them – one in each half – for the home side, who continued their flawless record since their surprise defeat away to Livingston eight games ago.

Odsonne Edouard opened the scoring to noise up the Green Brigade, who had been a couple of minutes late on account of the minute’s silence for Remembrance Sunday, but who burst into their take on the Stone Roses classic that has become a staple part of the Celtic Park songbook this season. Another fine performance by the Frenchman had me worrying, however, at the lack of backup we have should he pick up a niggling injury or require a rest. With Leigh Griffiths’ continued absence, it is abundantly clear that the forward line will need strengthened in the January transfer window.

Their consistency and the excitement and the quality of football – it’s absolutely fantastic.” Neil Lennon

Captain Scott Brown made his 550th Celtic appearance and was his usual, composed midfield orchestrator, along with his cohort and apprentice, Callum McGregor. Brown joined the ‘500 Club’ in December 2018, and is now sandwiched between such luminaries as Bobby Lennox (586) and Bobby Evans (537), where he is perched in eighth position in the club’s all-time appearance list. The comment that “the word legend is used too often these days” is used too often these days… Scott Brown is a Celtic legend, of that there is no question.

Fraser Forster’s fourth league shut-out in succession was another quiet one for the loanee, who performed further heroics in Rome on Thursday night. On Friday, I asked one of the Bhoys from Seville – Rab Douglas – who from the current side would have made it into the UEFA Cup final side of 2003. The ever-humble Big Rab dropped himself and named Forster as the only addition to Martin O’Neill’s European trailblazers.

Jonny deserves everything he gets… that’s two outstanding performances he’s put in, in the last few days.” Neil Lennon on Jonny Hayes

Jonny Hayes won ACSOM’s man of the match today ahead of the emerging Jeremie Frimpong and a resurgent Olivier Ntcham. Hayes works tirelessly up and down the left flank and has waited patiently for his opportunity of an extended run in the side since his arrival nearly two-and-a-half years ago from Aberdeen. The Eire cap was instrumental in the goal that sealed today’s victory and his adaptability will make him an important member of the squad as we challenge on four fronts this season.

Paul John Dykes

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