Alistair Johnston addresses the unseen struggles of his Celtic move

Alistair Johnston has addressed the recent change in management at Celtic and also opened up on the unseen struggles that may accompany a move to the SPFL.

It would be very reasonable to say that Alistair Johnston has already made a significant impact at Celtic. The Canadian International has actuallywon more trophies and accumulated more medals in his six months in Scotland than James Tavernier who has been with theRangers for eight years.

What speaks volumes is the lack of talk about Alistair Johnston’s predecessor, Josip Juranovic. At the World Cup in Qatar, Juranovic was one of the few players that really stood out and that drew attention to himself. However, since his departure to FC Union Berlin, talk about the Croatian has been extremely minimal, while Alistair Johnston has secured three winner’s medals in just 20 appearances.

press conference, PK, Pressekonferenz of Canadian national football team Alistair Johnston during the Canadian National Soccer Team press conference at the Umm Salal Club in Doha, Qatar on November 25, 2022. IgorxKralj/PIXSELL

With the recent departure of Ange Postecoglou, Johnston has revealed his excitement for the upcoming season, as he believes he is going to step up his game and take it o another level.

As reported by The Herald, Johnston explained. “It’s been a great fit for me,” he insisted. “No matter who was coming in, and Tony [Ralston] has done a great job at full-back, I like how I’ve played so far. But I think there’s another level to come with my game.

“I think Josip, when you look at what he’s doing at Union Berlin, he’s been unbelievable. He was a special player for Celtic. To even earn a move like that says it all about him. Look, I think there are still levels to my game I haven’t shown yet and that’s kind of exciting for me.”

Celtic v Livingston – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic s Alistair Johnston right and Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George shake hands after the final whistle. Photo Andrew Milligan

The move from Canada didn’t appear to be all that hard a move for Johnston, as he seemed to fit into the squad quite well. However, Johnston has revealed that the now Spurs manager, Ange Postecoglou, told him that he would struggle for his first six months at Celtic, but would flourish after a full pre-season with the club. With the exit of Postecoglou, life under Brendan Rodgers may be different, so the full-back may have another adjustment period ahead of him.

“He told me the first six months would be difficult, a new system and a completely different way to play the position,” Johnston recalled. “But he felt once I got a pre-season under my belt I would be feeling a lot more comfortable. And I am feeling that.

“As well as people in the outside world think it’s gone, there have still been difficulties and struggles in the system. But I’m lucky, I’ve got a really got a good group of guys and coaching staff to help me.”

Celtic v Motherwell – Alistair Johnston gets taken down by Callum Slattery during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday April 22, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

Alistair also reveals that his fellow full-backs, such as Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston, have been pivotal in helping his transition to Celtic. Although, he admits that his transition could’ve been much harder when comparing it to a few of his teammates, like Kyogo or Hatate, who don’t speak the language. He continues…

“Tony, Greg, all these guys, have shown me the ropes. They’ve helped make the transition as easy as possible,” Johnston said.

“Coming to a country where I don’t feel out of place also has helped. The year before they’d said the Japanese guys had come over in a similar situation, having played a full season and then coming to the SPFL it was difficult. They had to learn a whole new language and culture. But for me, growing up in a British household speaks English, it really wasn’t that big a transition.”

In the limited time, Alistair Johnston has been with Celtic, he has already made his mark, three trophies in his first few months is truly astonishing. If he is right and he can raise his game even further, he will prove to be a very valuable asset to the newly appointed Brendan Rodgers.


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