The battle of Mikey Johnston vs Scott Sinclair could be about to get a lot more intriguing over the coming weeks.
Johnston made his long-awaited Celtic return against Hearts several weeks ago in a cameo role. He barely had any time to make an impact, but he certainly made an impression at Easter Road yesterday.
The winger came on for Odsonne Edouard in the closing stages of the game. After that, he jinked past Efe Ambrose on several occasions and made mince-meat of the Hibs defence at times with his footwork.
Unfortunately for Celtic, the damage had already been done. Many supporters aimed a lot of their ire at Sinclair after another below-par performance. Therefore, he simply has to be nervously waiting the next teamsheet to see if his place is still secure.
As it stands, he remains Celtic’s number one left-winger. Consistently trusted by Brendan Rodgers, Sinclair gets chance after chance without producing the goods. His stats this season read at 28 games this season with five goals and five assists.
With all due respect to Sinclair, that’s not the numbers a Celtic winger should be racking up.
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Supporters want to see more of Johnston
Meanwhile, fans are extremely excited to see Johnston back in the fold and are keenly awaiting his chance to shine. He did, of course, have a prolonged period of first-team games during the early parts of the season.
He featured in eight games in the run up to September – six of them ended in victories. Since then, however, a nasty injury set him back several months, and allowed Sinclair to regain his place in the side.
When you compare the two players’ performances on the pitch this season, Johnston has looked much more impressive. His final ball could be improved upon, whilst he’s hardly reliable when lining up a shot at goal. But he’s only 19-years of age, and has plenty of time to improve on that.
First-team exposure could be exactly what Johnston needs to thrive in Glasgow. With Sinclair such an under-performer and Lewis Morgan also struggling to make an impact, Johnston deserves an opportunity.
He clearly has a gift with his quick feet. It’s now time for Celtic to let him flourish with another string of first-team outings.
The man to drop out? It simply has to be Sinclair.