Jonny Hayes: Winning mentality will help Celtic progress
The attacker says he has been a long-distance admirer of the Parkhead club’s strength of attitude and claims it has been enhanced by manager Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic must avoid defeat against a Rosenborg team who top their league table at the halfway point of their season after the Trondheim side held them to a scoreless draw in the first-leg in Glasgow.
Hayes, who joined Celtic from Aberdeen in a £1.3 million deal last month and scored in the morale-boosting 5-0 drubbing of Sunderland at the weekend, believes this week’s potentially season-defining game will inspire him and his team-mates.
“It’s just a winning mentality at this club. I think everyone saw that last year,” said the 30-year-old Irishman. “That always seems to be the case going back through the years. Celtic always seem to have that extra will to win. I will never forget being 3-1 up at Celtic Park with Aberdeen, and then 3-2 up with only seven or eight minutes left and they won 4-3.
“That mentality seems to be part of the club regardless of the manager or the personnel, but it is definitely there in abundance in that changing room.
“I think that stems from the club itself and then the manager. He has instilled that belief and confidence into everyone. I don’t think going anywhere would faze this Celtic squad. You saw that last season with the squad going to down to Manchester City and getting a draw against a club with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent.
“You can obviously call on results like that for a little bit of experience. But when you play for a club the size of Celtic you can’t be fazed by anything. It is what is expected of you. You have to go into every game with that willingness to go the extra mile to win it. It is not just about doing it for yourself, but for the club, the fans and everyone.”
Hayes’ sentiments were echoed by Craig Gordon, who was rested for the friendly against his former club at the weekend but is eager to face down the test in Trondheim.
“I think we have proved we’ve got the nerve to go there and handle the situation. It doesn’t feel like a pressure in the changing room at the moment. We would’ve liked to go with a lead, but at the same time we’ve got the clean sheet.
“If we can go there and get a goal then we’ll have a big advantage. They’ll need to beat us, which hasn’t happened to us for a while. So we’re still confident we can go there and get a result which will see us through.”
Rodgers remained non-committal at the weekend about the possibility of Leigh Griffiths recovering sufficiently from an ankle injury to make his return against Rosenborg.
James Forrest performed a central striker role in the drubbing of Sunderland and Rodgers said he would have “no hesitation” in deploying him there in Trondheim.