The right wing has been an area of real strength and depth for Celtic for a good while now, with the dual threats of Patrick Roberts and James Forrest providing the creative spark from that flank between them last season.

Roberts, of course, has returned to Manchester City now, and his future remains unclear, but Forrest showed in a devastating hour in Dublin on Saturday just what a stunningly effective player he can be when he’s on his game.

For any player coming in then who plays on the right, there is no doubt that he would be faced with a daunting task. On the one hand, he will be compared to a £12million player in the departed Roberts, and on the other, he will be faced with the prospect of shifting Forrest out of the team, a player that his teammate Mikael Lustig described after Saturday’s demolition of Shamrock Rovers as one of the best wingers in Britain.

Thankfully, Jonny Hayes is not a man who is easily intimidated, and after he netted is first goal for Celtic when replacing Forrest for the last half an hour at the Tallaght Stadium, he set his sights on forcing his way into the long-term plans of both his club and his country.

For now, he has his sights firmly set on helping Celtic reach the Champions League group stages in any way that he can.

But he knows that If he can establish himself at club level and play in top-level European competition, then becoming a mainstay for former Hoops manager Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side is likely to be a welcome side-benefit.

“It is still a long way away Champions League football,” Hayes said. “Six tough games between now and getting there. We’re under no illusion how hard it is going to be to get there.

“But yeah, of course, it’s the best competition in the world. No doubt if I get into the team and play in that competition, it will help me going forward with the gaffer for Ireland. There are top quality players in the international team, the team is flying as well so it will be one hell of a job the way things are.

“There is competition. Robbie (Brady), Jeff (Hendrick) can play there, Aiden (McGeady), James (McLean) plays wide, Jonny Walters too.

“There are players in the Premier League who can play there and they’re ahead of me in the pecking order. It’s up to me to impress in training and do well for Celtic and see where that takes me.

“Only just being involved, even being in the squad and on the bench, it’s great that the lads are doing well, I’m glad we’re winning games and hopefully we can qualify and it would be special. I’m happy if the lads are winning.

“I think I’ve settled in very well [at Celtic]. I know how the manager wants us to play, obviously there is the added bonus of being with the international team over the summer keeps you on your toes, I didn’t have time to lose that sharpness.

“I only got three or four days off I think. I’d take it to be honest. Football is different now, it’s a modern game where players look after themselves. There are no more days of going to the pub after training, you’d be caught out fairly quickly if you did.

“You love going away with the international team. But in the back of your mind, you’re thinking that makes pre-season a little bit easier now. That’s the way I looked at it anyway.

“So, I was up and running again, fitness-wise you’re not going to lose much in just a few days off. I’m raring to go since I signed. Playing competitive games is the next step forward.”

A lot has been made of the effect that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers can have on the career of his players, with Hayes’ rival for the right-wing berth Forrest one of those whose improvement was undeniable since the arrival of his new boss last summer.

Despite turning 30 on Sunday, Hayes believes that he too can still move his game up a level by working with Rodgers, and he has thrown himself into meeting the demanding challenges that have been laid down to him now that he is a Celtic player.

It’s all about his evolution as a player, rather than revolutionising the way he plays, and he is convinced that Rodgers can wring more out of him.

“As soon as we spoke, it’s never been a case of coming to Celtic and changing, it’s just been a case of improving,” he said. “Whatever he sees in me, I know 100 percent he can improve me.

“So, he told me to keep improving and doing what I’m good at and get better while I’m here. He is one of the best managers in the world, I’m confident he can improve me.”