Rodgers bringing in Jonny Hayes – perfect sense or jobs for the Bhoys

Good to see Jonny back at the club, but is it just a convenient hiring or is it a sign of Brendan Rodgers bringing his own men into his coaching staff?

Jonny Hayes of Celtic scores his team’s second goal during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic at Ibrox on September 01, 2019. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Jonny Hayes retired from football last month as he bid a tearful farewell to the Aberdeen supporters.

The Irishman had a long and distinguished career in the game including a three year spell at Celtic were he won every single domestic honour, picking up seven winners medals, while also playing at the highest level in Europe.

That experience is one that will serve him well in his coaching career, a career he was expected to take up at the Dons, but he declined leaving the door open for other opportunities.

The official Aberdeen FC website confirmed that Jonny Hayes had left the club earlier today, making the following statement:

Jonny Hayes has now officially called time on his career with the Dons.

A bona fide AFC legend, Jonny has played over 350 times for the Reds across two spells in 2012-17 and 2020-24. That total across nine years has him 16th in the Club’s all-time leading appearance holder list, and he leaves with the love and respect of the Dons support after a brilliant career.

The influential winger was also a proud supporter and ambassador for AFC Community Trust, using his position at the Club to become a role model for many youngsters who work with the Trust through its education and employability programming, as well as engaging in football and other activities.

The Club had offered the former Republic of Ireland international a senior full-time position within the Youth Academy however, he has opted to pursue senior coaching opportunities at professional level elsewhere.

Director of Football, Steven Gunn said: “There is no doubt Jonny has made a significant impact during his time with the Club and he can be extremely proud of his contribution to Aberdeen FC.

“An integral part of the 2014 League Cup winning squad, Jonny led the way on the pitch and in the dressing room in terms of his professionalism during both his spells at the Club. His recent achievements with the U16’s squad mark the beginning of a new chapter for him in a coaching capacity.

“Whilst we were keen for Jonny to remain at Pittodrie we respect his decision and wish him and his family both personal and professional success in the future. They will always be welcome at Pittodrie.”

Having spent a considerable amount of time in the North-east and having been part of many memorable moments across the years, Jonny has mixed emotions about leaving the Club.

“It’s been a privilege to represent this fantastic Club”, said Jonny.

“I’ve been fortunate to have played in many important games, and of course, play my part in delivering a trophy for the fans, who have supported me incredibly throughout the years. I’ve always given my best, both on and off the field, and tried to uphold the values of Aberdeen FC.

“I also need to thank the Club for giving me the opportunity to begin my coaching journey within the Youth Academy. The experience has been hugely rewarding seeing the progress, development and success of the Academy as a whole over the last few years. Although development is always a priority, being involved with the Under 16’s winning their CAS League last year, along with the current Under 16’s delivering success in the league and cup this year, demonstrates there is some top talent coming through to compliment the successful Under 18’s squad.

“The future is bright for the Club and although I won’t be playing at Pittodrie anymore, I’ll always be a supporter of the Club and City and I wish everyone associated with AFC all the very best going forward.”

That other opportunity the Aberdeen statement relates to was revealed later in the day as a post at Celtic working with the youths. It’s not known yet exactly what role Jonny will occupy, but it’s most likely the role of under 18 coach.

Jonny was a decent player and by all accounts he’s a cracking guy, so it’s good to have someone such as him taking up the role. The players will learn so much from an experienced individual like Jonny. And Jonny is well known to Brendan Rodgers who managed him in the early days of Jonny’s player career at Reading.

You can’t help but wonder though, is it yet another case of ‘jobs for the boys’? I’m not being cynical, but it forever seems that we fail to cast our net wide enough when it comes to recruitment in terms of coaching positions at the club.

But the other theory here that’s being argued is that this is a sign of Brendan Rodgers adding his own appointments to his staff and Jonny Hayes is well aware of who the manager operates. That can only be a good thing for the club as we look to bridge the gap between talented youngsters and realising that potential by breaking into the first team.

Darren O’Dea was recently promoted to Pathways Manager, another sign that Celtic are talking this more seriously with Brendan Rodgers at the helm.

If you are in the ‘jobs for the boys’ camp that you can argue that former players Stephen McManus and Darren O’Dea are examples of that and Jonny Hayes is another. Although both McManus and O’Dea are good coaches, as Jonny should be, it feels as if we aren’t going for the most qualified candidates, just ones that are well known and connected at the club.

But ultimately it comes down to one man and that is Brendan Rodgers, who has the highest regard for Jonny Hayes who will be able to relate to the young Celtic stars of the future by telling them that at their age he was being coached by the Celtic manager.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

Click on image to order

READ THIS…Father’s Day Sale – All Celtic Star Books Now Half Price!

Check out for short, sharp, Celtic news and commentary from the makers of The Celtic Star

About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

1 Comment

  1. Not ‘jobs for the boys.’

    Probably the most sensible backroom appointment in a while.

    People complain about the difficulty in young players breaking through into the first team.

    This is how you get continuity – by having coaches at all levels that the manager knows inside-out and has his confidence that the methods and systems being taught are exact to his blueprint.

    Jonny Hayes was a player under BR twice, now integrated as a main coach under him – a perfect fit to maintain the structure he requires from the roots up.

    If naysayers want a working example – take Barca; coaches you never heard of, ‘natives’ to the club if you like, all reading from the same script. And talented youngsters fitting straight into the first team Seems to work for them…

Leave A Reply