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Monday 20 November 2017

Hayes hopes to prevent Celtic clean sweep

Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes
Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes

Aberdeen's Irish winger Jonny Hayes has prevented Celtic scoring a clean sweep in the PFA Scotland player of the year shortlist.

Hayes is among four candidates along with Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Stuart Armstrong.

Dembele is also among three Celtic players on the young player shortlist along with Kieran Tierney, Patrick Roberts and Hibernian striker Jason Cummings. Sinclair was voted Celtic's top player this season by both his team-mates and Hoops fans after hitting 25 goals so far in his debut campaign.

Armstrong did not secure a regular starting place until late October but the central midfielder is on 14 goals and set up a late winner on his Scotland debut against Slovenia in March.

Dubliner Hayes has scored eight goals for Aberdeen and helped them to two cup finals and a nine-point lead over Rangers in second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership. He has edged out the likes of Celtic skipper Scott Brown in the voting among his fellow professionals.

Dembele has scored 32 goals after displacing last year's PFA Scotland player of the year, Leigh Griffiths, as Celtic's first-choice striker.

Left-back Tierney missed three months of the season through injury but is still in line to claim the young player prize for a second consecutive campaign, while on-loan Manchester City winger Roberts makes the top four after hitting seven goals.

Cummings, who has scored 23 goals to help Hibs to promotion, was last week named on the shortlist for PFA Scotland's Championship player of the year too. The winners will be announced on Sunday night at PFA Scotland's annual awards dinner in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Sinclair has declared his debut campaign at Celtic the "best and happiest" of his career after scooping a club awards double.

The 28-year-old was voted the Hoops' player of the year by both team-mates and fans ahead of their awards night last Sunday.

The wide player has netted 25 goals and said: "This is the best time and the happiest time in my career right now. To have the connection with the fans and all of them who voted for me, it just means so much to me."

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