By support

31st May, 2017 | 1:42pm

Martin O’Neill delivers verdict on reported Celtic midfield target

By Derek Smithson

Martin O’Neill has described reported Celtic target Jonny Hayes as “top class” and believes he has been in fine form for Aberdeen in the last nine months.

The 29-year-old midfielder was a key man as the Dons finished second in the Scottish Premiership and were also twice beaten finalists in the domestic cup competitions.

The Scottish Sun reported on Monday that Scottish champions Celtic are now planning a summer move for the right winger and are preparing to use Ryan Christie as a makeweight in the deal.

Republic of Ireland manager O’Neill, who also enjoyed a five-year spell at Celtic, admits he is not “surprised” about his former side’s interest in Hayes.

“I wouldn’t really be surprised by Celtic’s interest because he gives you something,” O’Neill said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “He wants to take players on, he wants to go for it and that’s encouraging. He has been a star man for Aberdeen for the whole season. His attitude is really top class and good luck to him.”

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Hayes was in spectacular form last season, scoring 11 goals and supplying 24 assists in just 44 appearanes.

The winger proved to be a major goal threat all campaign and did earn a nomination for the PFA player of the year, which was won by Celtic’s Scott Sinclair.

The Bhoys will be without wide man Patrick Roberts next season as his 18-month loan switch expires this summer, but Hayes could be a natural replacement on the flank.

In other Celtic transfer news, Chris Sutton believes the club’s fans will be expecting big things in the Champions League.

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