Mikey Johnston’s International future has been secured with the attacker declaring allegiance to Ireland. The 23-year-old is set to be called up to Stephen Kenny’s squad for the games against Latvia and France. However, his future at Celtic seems slightly more uncertain.
Johnston is currently on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes but will return to the Scottish Champions at the end of the season when his spell in Portugal ends. Until then, the Celtic winger will be hoping to showcase to Ange Postecoglou that he has a future in Glasgow’s East End.
Johnston has had a terrible time in recent seasons with persistent injury problems. The winger never really impressed in the limited run-outs he’s managed under Postecoglou. It was clear that there was a talented player there but not consistently enough for Ange, who has been ruthless with players since arriving.
Ange told a recent media conference that a decision on the former Scotland youth prospect would be taken at the end of the season.
“Hopefully for him that gives him all of the things he is looking for in his career. In terms of beyond that, he is playing more regularly.
“We needed him to play more regular football and he is doing that. At the end of the year we will look at it and decide what is best for his future.”
It made sense to switch Glasgow for Portugal in the hunt of regular football. In twenty-two appearances, Johnston has scored three times and assisted three times. Given his age, he still has a lot of football ahead of him and the time away from Celtic will surely enhance his abilities. It will likely be of some concern to MJ that Celtic have a wealth of wide options at the manager’s disposal. Daizen Maeda, Jota, Liel Abada, James Forrest and Sead Haksabanovic are all battling for the two wide positions in Ange’s team.
Given that Hakšabanović and Abada are having to make do from the bench, you struggle to see where Johnston fits into plans going forward. Eyebrows were raised when Oh took Johnston’s Number 19 shirt, suggesting that the writing may very well be on the wall.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months in Portugal as Johnston fights for his Celtic future.