Brendan Rodgers has revealed in a press conference via 90 Minute Cynic on YouTube that Jonny Hayes had the chance to leave Celtic in January, but insisted that he couldn't sign off on it.
Hayes started only his second game for the Hoops since August on Sunday as Rodgers's side thumped St Johnstone 5-0 to reach the next round of the Scottish Cup.
In the absence of Kieran Tierney, the Northern Irish manager has been using the 31-year-old as a makeshift left-back in recent months, alternating with Emilio Izaguirre.
And Rodgers claims that his all-action display against the Saints yesterday demonstrates why he couldn't afford to sanction his winter exit last month.
Asked how close Hayes was to leaving, the former Liverpool and Swansea boss said: "There was some options for him but I told him that I couldn't let him go. He's a wonderful player for the team.
"If he's playing in any other team he's playing probably every week. He had the chance to go but yeah, I couldn't afford to let him and days like today demonstrates that."
For the most part, it just hasn't worked out at Parkhead.
He is undeniably a fine player, evident by the fact that he was the only non-Celtic man awarded for the Player of the Year award during the 2016-17 season, losing out to Scott Sinclair.
But he has been unable to get a run of games under Rodgers since joining almost two years ago. Injury hasn't helped, but for the most part it's been down to the Bhoys' having better players, though hopefully for his sake he can continue impressing in an unfamiliar defensive role.
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