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HAYES HAILS ‘OUTSTANDING’ KENNEDY

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JONNY HAYES is not surprised with reports linking Celtic No.2 John Kennedy with the vacant Hibs managerial position.

The Republic of Ireland international star, who put in a Man-of-the-Match performance in the 2-0 Premiership win over Motherwell at Parkhead yesterday, believes Neil Lennon’s assistant will one day be a team boss in his own right.

And Hayes hopes that when the time comes it will be with the Hoops.

Kennedy, who had to quit playing at the age of 21 following a knee injury sustained in his Scotland international debut against Romania in 2004, has earned a solid reputation after starting off working in the club’s youth set-up.

He joined Ronny Deila’s backroom team in 2014 and then landed a prominent role alongside Brendan Rodgers two years later.

The Irishman was keen to take him to Leicester City when he quit the club in February, but Kennedy stayed put to remain part of Neil Lennon’s staff with Damien Duff also getting rapid promotion.

Hayes reckons Kennedy will not be tempted if an offer was made to replace the sacked Paul Heckingbottom at Easter Road.

The 32-year-old former Aberdeen ace, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I can’t see it myself. It’s obvious he’s going to be a manager one day. The work here he does, he’s been enormous behind the scenes.

“He was a great player, but he’s an outstanding coach. He’s Celtic through and through, as well, so I can’t see him leaving. At least, I hope not!”

Hayes also revealed Kennedy has played a huge part in talking him through his switch from winger to stand-in left-back.

He added: “I’d played there before, but it’s hard trying to learn a new position and picking it up as quickly as possible.

“I feel I am learning every time I play there, but it’s great to be able to bounce questions off John.

“He’s a fantastic coach who really knows the defensive side of the game.

“He’s been a real comfort blanket for me and I always talk to him about it after the games. He reassures me and gives me confidence.”

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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