Jonny Hayes is set for a return to Celtic after his departure from Aberdeen was officially confirmed. The 36-year-old, who was offered a coaching role by the Dons, has chosen instead to embark on a new chapter in his career.

SunSport reports that Hayes will be rejoining Celtic in a role focused on nurturing young talent in the academy. The former Republic of Ireland international was visibly emotional following his final game, marking the end of his playing days as he transitions to coaching.

Aberdeen had proposed a full-time position’ within their youth academy to Hayes, but the club confirmed he has opted to seek coaching opportunities at a professional level elsewhere.

Hayes’ new opportunity appears to be back at Celtic, where he played from 2017 to 2020. He will be stepping into a pivotal role, working with the club’s younger players as they look to replace under-18 manager Stuart McLaren, who left at the end of last year.

Jonny Hayes
Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Rangers v Celtic – Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Britain – September 1, 2019 Celtic’s Jonny Hayes celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Snapped up by Celtic for £1 million in 2017, Hayes never quite cemented a regular first-team spot but still made a notable impact, amassing 67 appearances and winning three Scottish Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups, and two League Cups during his tenure.

Upon his release in 2020, Hayes made a return to Aberdeen, accepting a significantly lower wage which were deferred to don the red shirt once more. He quickly became a mainstay in the team, adding 145 more appearances to his impressive tally at Pittodrie.

Hayes’ return to Celtic, this time in a coaching capacity, promises to bring a wealth of experience to the club’s youth setup. Brendan Rodgers was the one who signed Jonny the first time around and clearly rates the Irishman’s influence.

There has been a bit of discomfort from some fans that Celtic always seem to employ people they like. The perception being perhaps the board aren’t seeking out the best candidate.

The youth system has not produced any significant player since Kieran Tierney. It’s pivotal we get the conveyer belt working again.


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