Aberdeen's Jonathan Hayes in action with Celtic's Patrick Roberts
Jonny Hayes, new Celtic signing, has showered praise on fan-favourite Patrick Roberts, but has made it clear that he is not a replacement for the departed hero.
Roberts enjoyed a phenomenal 2016/17 season for Celtic, where he scored 11 goals for the Bhoys and played a key role in helping Brendan Rodgers’ side win the historic domestic treble.
Celtic were keen on signing him on a permanent deal from Manchester City, but it seems Roberts won't be returning to Parkhead this summer.
Hayes expects marquee signings to arrive at Celtic who would be better equipped to replace the 20-year-old winger.
The Irishman, who joined from Aberdeen last week, said that he was in awe of Roberts when they faced each other last season.
Hayes says that Roberts was one of the standout players for Celtic who maintained high standards on the pitch.
Celtic's Patrick Roberts shoots
He is certain that Roberts will only improve in his career from here on. Hayes further adds that the 20-year-old would love to return to Celtic Park one day if he has a chance.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Patrick but I wouldn’t say I’m his replacement," said Hayes, as quoted by the Daily Record. “I wouldn’t want to build myself up like that but I’m sure the manager will still have a few replacements coming in.
“I played against Patrick a few times last season and he did a couple of things on the pitch which made me say, ‘Wow.’
“Andy Considine had a great season for Aberdeen and he would say Patrick was his toughest opponent. It says a lot that he stands out amongst the high standard of Celtic player.
“He will only improve and I’m sure he’d love to come back one day if he had that chance. But it will be his parent club which decides where he goes.”
General view of Celtic Park