The Chalkboard: Jonny Hayes can be a more effective team performer than Scott Sinclair in cup final

Celtic are busy preparing for the Scottish Cup Final this weekend with the chance to win an incredible treble of trophies for the third consecutive year.

Again standing on the brink of history, Neil Lennon knows that if he is to have any chance of getting the permanent job at Celtic Park then his team need a victory against Hearts.

The Hoops will, of course, be red hot favourites for the Hampden clash, but Lennon nonetheless must get the personnel in his team spot on, with Craig Levein and his side likely hopeful of bursting the Celtic bubble.

One of the key decisions will be getting the right formula in attack that can find the goals need to lift the trophy.

Attacking flair has been hard to come by under Lennon in his second spell, but can he get the team selection right at the weekend?

On the chalkboard

One of the glaring under-performers in the Hoops team of late has been Scott Sinclair. The 30-year-old has scored an impressive 17 goals this season but has failed to score or assist a single effort since Lennon arrived at the club despite playing in 11 of those 13 matches.

Starting him on Saturday would be a serious risk considering that kind of form and it’s not as if he offers the team much when he isn’t directly contributing to goals.

In contrast, Jonny Hayes has been nothing but impressive over the last few months and, although he hasn’t scored himself, he provides exceptional hard work and tenacity on the left flank that can keep Celtic pushing towards the opposition goal.

Why not turn to youth?

Some may raise their eyebrows at the Irish international getting the nod over young players such as Mikey Johnstone and Karamoko Dembele, but on an occasion like this experience is essential and Hayes has plenty of that.

Johnstone and Dembele have long futures ahead of them in a Hoops shirt but it isn’t their time to shine quite yet and they should only be used in the event Hayes doesn’t make the game due to injury concerns.

The use of Hayes also helps protect Kieran Tierney at left back, who has fitness issues of his own.

Hayes may not have performed the role of a match-winner at Celtic in his time at the club but his team-focused, unselfish performances mark him out as a prime candidate to be one of the stars who can help clinch an incredible ‘treble treble’.