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  • Jonny Hayes: Fitness of squad vital in avoiding Euro hangover

    Jonny Hayes: Fitness of squad vital in avoiding Euro hangover

    By: Joe Donnelly on 10 Nov, 2019 19:09

  • JUST three days after beating Lazio 2-1 at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, Celtic overcame Motherwell 2-0 at Paradise today (Sunday). Jonny Hayes was named stadium Man of the Match, and reckons fitness among the Hoops ranks is what helped ensure back-to-back wins in such a short space of time.

    The tireless Irishman, who played the entirety of both games at left-back, said he and his peers are inspired on the fitness front by club captain Scott Brown – who recorded his 550th Celtic appearance against the Steelmen.

    “I’ve never been involved with a fitter group of players,” said Hayes after the match. “You see the work-rate week in, week out from the likes of Broony, Ryan, Cal and James. It’s second nature at this stage, coming back from Europe and playing at the weekend.

    “Cal looks after himself brilliantly, and we all take our example from the captain. Broony has a bit of Benjamin Button about him. He keeps proving people wrong with how fit he is and his determination in games. We look up to him. We’ve got such a strong squad.”

    For Hayes, returning to domestic action with a win was important, but so too was doing so with a confident performance. Both were evident against Motherwell, as was the Scottish champions’ place at the top of the Premiership ahead of the international interval. 

    He added: “Three points were the most important thing. It was important that we put on a decent display as well off the back of Thursday night. The manager made sure we didn’t dwell on that. I thought it was a dominant performance, we played well, and now we go into the break after a good run of results.

    “It was good to have a home game immediately following Thursday, because all the motivation is there – a packed stadium, home support and good pitch. Lazio was a good result for the club, but coming back to play in front of you own fans is all the inspiration you need.  

    “To be honest, I was just happy being out there playing football. We finished the last run of games with a defeat, so we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again today. I thought played well right from the outset and we deserved to win.”

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