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Published: 16:24 | 19/6/17

Hayes wowed by 'infectious' Rodgers


Celtic's new signing Jonny Hayes says he was convinced on a move to Celtic Park after just 30 seconds of conversation with manager Brendan Rodgers.

Ireland international Hayes signed a three-year deal with the Scottish champions on Saturday after five seasons with Aberdeen.

The Dubliner, 29, worked with Rodgers at Reading early in his career, then played for Leicester City and Inverness Caldeonian Thistle before signing for Aberdeen in the summer of 2012.

"As soon as Aberdeen gave Celtic permission, I spoke to Brendan and within 30 seconds I knew I wanted to come," Hayes said.

"I knew there might be a chance I was going down to England. My agent Barry Hughes had set a few things up for me and I could have gone.

"But as soon as Celtic became involved it was the only place I wanted to come.

"My heart was set on Celtic from the minute I spoke to the manager. He's infectious. I'd been waiting all day for the phone call. It was about six or seven at night when he finally called, I don't think I'd spoken a word in that first 30 seconds other than 'hello' and I was sold.

"He's fantastic to work for. It's a long time since I worked with him at Reading but there are a lot of other major factors in me wanting to come here. There's the size of the club, the chance to play out there in front of 55,000 every week, the chance to play in the Champions League.

"So many things that when you put it together, you realise it's the complete package."

Hayes could make his competitive Celtic debut in the second qualifying round of the Champions League against Northern Ireland's Linfield or San Marino's SP La Fiorita.

If Linfield progress, Hayes could feature against the Northern Irish champions at Windsor Park on 11 July.

"It's going to be a tough," Hayes told BBC Scotland. "There's no easy games in Europe.

"I have a bit of experience playing with Aberdeen there a couple of times where we took our foot off the gas a little bit and got punished. But every game is tough regardless of who we play or where we play.

"Everyone will look forward to playing against Celtic and will raise their game.

"I'm just happy playing in a game where I just finally get a chance to pull this top on. I can't wait to get started."

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