First glimpse of Mikey Johnston this summer offers hope for Celtic
Mikey Johnston bagged his first Celtic pre-season appearance this term in yesterday’s 2-1 win against Charlton Athletic, and it’s fair to say there were promising signs.
Johnston was given the second 45 as Ange Postecoglou again played two different XIs for each half as he did against Sheffield Wednesday.
However, unlike the 3-1 win over the Owls last Wednesday, Johnston was named in one of those sides. And for 45 minutes, he showed his willingness to be direct and take risks.
His biggest moment of the game came late on when he cut onto his right foot from the left flank and curled a beautiful effort off the base of the post. A bit more luck and it would’ve been his first goal of pre-season.
Some fans were notably frustrated on social media with Johnston occasionally losing possession when running at his man. However, that’s Mikey’s game and he’s always been a risk-taker.
Another potential frustration for fans was his inability to see a better passing option at times. Again, Mikey deserves some leeway given it’s his first game since May.
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Mikey Johnston deserves one final opportunity to put Celtic 2020/21 hell behind him
He showed enough against Charlton to suggest he can offer us something different this season. He’s the trickiest of wingers at the club, and we have to hope Postecoglou knows how to channel that talent effectively.
In terms of Johnston’s decision-making in the final third, that will come with games. Injury woes caused his 2020/21 campaign to be nothing more than a write-off. He was out until late December before only being given a flurry of cameos before being injured again.
It’s a fresh start for Johnston just as it is for everyone at the club. Whilst there are some elements to his game that still frustrate, there’s still so much potential there.
Sure, at 22 some will say you’re no longer a young talent who should be looked at as one for the future. That’s true to an extent, but Johnston still has a lot to give Celtic for years to come should he remain injury free.
And after a solid first 45 minutes of pre-season, there were plenty of Celtic fans who saw the positives: