Hayes: We respect but won't fear Hibs


By Colette Carr

After a busy return to action for the Celts, Caitlin Hayes believes that the free weekend has helped the Hoops reset after a hectic start to 21/22, as she and her teammates gear up for the battle of the greens this weekend.

Celtic return to Airdrie to welcome Hibs after an enthralling comeback against Glasgow City in their first home league outing of the season, and Hayes explained it’s been a busy start to the new season, with the Celts having already played almost a third of last season’s competitive games. 

“It’s almost been divided into two seasons, with Champions League’s preseason, and then again before the domestic season, so it did feel quite long but it was something we all got through together, so to get that little bit of respite and do things outside of football and get out of that routine was good,” she began.

“We’ve come back with a new lease of life and energy as if we’ve reset. Now we’ll just put our heads down to work hard for each other, for the badge and the team and we’ll hopefully reap the rewards of it.”

Sunday’s match-up holds happy memories for the defender, who finally bagged her first, and only league goal so far for the Hoops in Celtic’s last meeting with the Edinburgh side. Her header just before the break in Penicuik proved the crucial difference in the Celts’ chase for European football, and Hayes said she still holds that moment fondly.

“It feels like a lifetime ago, but when I stop and think about it, it also feels like yesterday.

“It’s something that I’ve mentioned 10,000 times but it will live with me forever to score my first goal for Celtic. First and foremost I’d love to help the team get three points, but it’s a personal endeavour of mine to replicate that night,” she admitted.

A defensive stalwart of Alonso’s side, Hayes surprisingly has more Champions League goals for Celtic than domestic strikes, with the 26-year-old admitting it’s a funny game. 

She said: “I was given the opportunity to go up front for the last ten minutes of one of those games which is something I always enjoy and feel like a dog off a lead when these opportunities come and I was glad to get the goal. We lost the game, so it doesn’t mean too much, but I suppose it was great personally.”

Ahead of a bumper three-game week Hayes knows their tricky start to the season shows no sign of holding up with the visit of Hibs.

“You never underestimate Hibs. You always respect them with their history and they always have a good outfit, but while we respect, we don’t have to fear them because we know what we’re capable of. We know who we are so it’s an opportunity to put into practice what we’ve been doing for what seems like forever now and focus on what we can control. 

“I’m just looking forward to the week though. Ultimately we’re football players and although we love training, there’s nothing like a game so to have three in a week is something that’s very exciting,” she added. 

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