One thing that the international break commencing again kicked-off was the debate around Celtic’s loaned-out winger, Mikey Johnston. Johnston had been given a one-year extension by boss Ange Postecoglou and then sent out of Lennoxtown in search of more regular minutes and first team opportunities.
The 24-year-old subsequently found that Portuguese first division side, Vitoria Guimaraes. Having gotten more minutes under his belt and impressed enough in the Premiera Liga to warrant being called up to the Republic of Ireland squad by Stephen Kenny, through the grandparent rule, Mikey has once again come to the forefront of the Celtic supporters’ psyche.
His boss at Vitoria, Moreno Teixeira, that the winger with return to Celtic and prove his doubters wrong after having a stellar year in the Portuguese top-flight. “Mikey Johnston is a young player who is still learning and we knew he had room to improve,” he told The Herald. “I was not mistaken: he has skill, speed and fits easily into any tactical system. He is growing in every way, becoming more and more useful for the team.”
His current manager insists that Mikey has been thoroughly deserving of his minutes on the park, as he justified his faith by a decent return in a tough league. He said: “He has three goals and three assists in 22 games played by Vitória SC, which is already a very good record for someone playing for the first time in the Portuguese Liga, one of the most competitive in Europe. We have excellent options for the wings and he deserved the opportunities he had, being a very competitive and professional both in training and in games.
Teixeira also believes that when he returns to his parent club at the end of this loan spell, Ange Postecoglou will be keen to see more of him. He added: “Naturally he should improve some aspects and he knows what they are, but I am not at all surprised by his call to the Republic of Ireland. He is a valuable winger, he has evolved a lot and, therefore, I believe he will have another status when he returns to Celtic at the end of the season.”