Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart has labelled loan star Mikey Johnston as being “very special”. The big Hoops stopper has been singing the praises of the winger after he was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad recently and had an impressive cameo against Latvia from the bench on his debut.
The 23-year-old Scots-born attacker endured a tumultuous time at Celtic Park through his relationship with successive injuries that have hampered his progress. Now currently on-loan at Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes, the Bhoys player has scored three goals during his jaunt in the Primeira Liga, leading to rave reviews from his coach, Moreno Teixeira.
The Portuguese side’s manager reckons that Mickey will have a different squad status when he returns home to Glasgow’s East End and that Ange Postecoglou will want to see the player in action once again. Well, Joe Hart has now revealed that he thought Johnston was special since the moment he laid eyes on him and insists that the Republic of Ireland are getting a truly special talent. “Ireland are getting someone who is potentially very special”, Hart said as reported by the Irish Mirror. “He has a lot of ability and the kind of qualities that can lift people off their seats.
“I noticed that the moment I met him, but he’s been very unlucky with injuries. You have to really understand football to understand what he’s been through because they’re not your average injuries. People understand when you pull your hamstring and you’re out for eight weeks but you come back and you’re fine. Or if you break a leg. But Mikey had these little injuries that kept holding him back and stopped any sort of momentum and flow in his career. But he’s very professional and is doing his best to get the best out of himself.
Hart also asserted his belief that of Johnston were to remain fit this time, he could contribute to this current Ange Postecoglou side immeasurably. He added: “A fully fit Mikey Johnston can impact games and he’ll get people out of their seats. Mikey is a throwback winger, but he’ll be the first to admit that he must produce consistency – both availability wise and how he plays. If he does that, then I really think he’ll be a great acquisition for anyone.”
With an abundance of ability and skill, Johnston has been the Celtic nearly man through his body not reacting well to consistent football. The demands at Celtic Park now are even greater than before, but he has remained injury free so far whilst he has been away on his European expedition, so hopefully he can come back and stake a claim for place in the squad, if not the side. It would be great to see him fulfil that potential and promise we saw in flashes. Fingers crossed for Mickey it works out this time!