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19th Jun 2017

Jonny Hayes reveals the minor role aftershave played in deciding to sign for Celtic

In case you were wondering, Brendan Rodgers smells great

Darragh Murphy

Brendan Rodgers turned to a familiar face for his first signing of the summer.

Jonny Hayes signed for Celtic last weekend, calling time on his five-year spell at Aberdeen, and it didn’t require a great deal of thought from the winger to reunite with Rodgers, with whom he worked at Reading.

The Ireland international turns 30 next month but his relationship with Rodgers goes back almost 15 years and Hayes fondly remembers how a bottle of aftershave proved to him that Rodgers is indeed a top bloke.

“There’s a story about when I came on trial to Reading. Brendan was wearing a certain aftershave that smelled nice,” Hayes told Celtic TV.

“Just a quick mention of it. Then three or four months later I was over at Reading on my 16th birthday and he brought me up to meet his family, had a cake in his house, all the stuff like that.

“And when we went back down to the house, he brought me down to my digs, and he bought me a present and it was a bottle of aftershave.

“I was just talking about that story with my friends in Ireland last week and it’s just a measure of the man.

“Little things like that, I’m sure everyone will have a story like that about him and what you see is what you get with him.”

Hayes found the net against the Hoops in last month’s Scottish Cup final, opening the scoring after just 10 minutes, but Rodgers’ side went on to lift the cup with a dramatic late winner.

And having impressed throughout the full campaign for Aberdeen, Hayes was always going to be in high demand once the transfer window opened.

The subject of interest from Cardiff City, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest, Hayes admitted that his relationship with Rodgers made his next destination a no-brainer when he discovered that the Glasgow side wanted to bring him on board.

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

“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.”