Ange on Mikey Johnston: “He needs to be able to do to match the other guys in his position”

Mikey Johnston certainly seemed keen to make an impression as Celtic defeated Austrian side SC Wiener Viktoria on Wednesday evening. The Winger assisted in three of Celtic’s seven goals and also got his name on the scoresheet as he took advantage of the Celtic players involved with international duty this summer having to watch from the stands.

It may not have been the best of opposition, but in a game which consisted of one-way traffic towards the Viktoria goal, Mikey Johnston linked up well with new signing Alexandro Bernabei on Celtic’s left flank. And now Ange Postecoglou, as reported in Football Scotland, is asking the million dollar question of Mikey Johnston, can he turn those fleeting but often impressive moments into becoming a consistent performer this season?

“Mikey is one of those players, if he stays healthy, he has ability. We know he’s got talent. He’s got to be able to do that on a consistent basis.

“He is in an area of the park where we’ve got some real competition and some real quality.

“That’s what he needs to be able to do to match the other guys in his position, other guys like Daizen, Jota, Liel and James Forrest.

“There’s no reason why he can’t do that. That’s the opportunity he gets now and it’s the same for everyone in this pre-season. Irrespective of what happened last year, they are all starting from a space where they can stake a claim and make a contribution this year.”

19th December 2021; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish League Cup final, Hibernian versus Celtic: Mikey Johnston of Celtic on the ball

There is absolutely no doubting Mikey Johnston’s footballing ability, what has always been an issue however, is an interrupted career with injuries and then what appears at time to be a lack of confidence in his body as a result. Indeed, it says a lot that since making his debut under Brendan Rodgers, Johnston has started only 31 games for Celtic – that is something that simply has to be remedied and quickly.

Johnston of course faces tough competition for a Celtic shirt from the likes of Jota, Maeda and Forrest, but in a team that rotates so heavily there will be opportunities for Mikey Johnston to shine. And when they arise, Johnston is going to have to evidence he can turn the odd impressive performance into a more regular occurrence.

If he can do that there is undoubtedly a place in this Celtic squad moving forward, but you get the impression that is going to have to happen between now and January, or else Johnston risks become another of Celtic’s nearly men.

Niall J

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As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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