Veteran winger Jonny Hayes sealed a 2-0 victory in the first Old Firm derby of the 2019/20 season. The Dublin born man put all doubts to rest as he clinched the victory with his 93rd minute strike. Odsonne Edouard put Celtic ahead in the 32nd minute. Celtic had been the more threatening side in the game over the 90 minutes, ending the game with triple the amount of shots on target to Rangers. The one goal lead was never a secure one, however. Celtic threatened, but failed, to add to their lead throughout the second half. The lack of ruthlessness in Celtic’s attack gave Rangers hope. It looked as though Rangers could still steal a point up until Hayes’ late strike confirmed the three points for Celtic.
An emotional Neil Lennon expressed his delight for Hayes in a post-match interview. The coach who is native to County Armagh, described himself as “the happiest man in the country”, following their win at Ibrox. At 32 years of age, Celtic’s Irish winger is likely to be entering the twilight of his career. Hayes entered his prime when he was named Aberdeen’s player of the season in 2016. His performances earned him his only four international caps between 2016 and 2017, as well as a dream transfer to Scottish giants Celtic. Though he may be past his peak, the veteran showed he still has plenty to offer in Sunday’s derby.
Sunday’s victory takes Celtic’s record for the season to 4 wins out of 4 so far in the SPL. Celtic faithful will also be delighted to have handed their Glasgow rivals their first loss of the season so far. Neil Lennon’s men now sit three points clear at the top of the table. Celtic will be looking to secure an astonishing ninth league title in a row this season. This feat has been accomplished on just two previous occasions. Celtic themselves won nine in a row between 1966 and 1974. Local rivals Rangers more recently achieved this accomplishment, winning nine in a row between 1989 and 1997.
Rangers have slowly been catching back up to Celtic in recent years, following their 2012 liquidation. Their four year spell in the lower tiers of Scottish football ended just 3 years ago. Rangers have quickly regained their position as Celtic’s main domestic rivals, finishing just 9 points behind The Hoops last season. The Old Firm is always an intense fixture but the intensity will always be amplified when the league title can hang in the balance. When these two teams are so far ahead of the rest, victories in Old Firm games can be the deciding factor in the SPL.