"A dream start": Irish media react to Celtic winger Mikey Johnston's Ireland debut

By Hamish Carton

March 23, 2023

Celtic winger Mikey Johnston had a debut to remember for the Republic of Ireland last night.

Johnston switched allegiance to Ireland earlier this month, and made his first appearance as a substitute in the 3-2 friendly win over Latvia.

Johnston entered the fray as a 63rd minute substitute for Michael Obafemi, and showed his quality in the final half an hour in Dublin.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

He made the winning goal after running down the left wing. Johnston’s shot cannoned off the post and rebounded for fellow sub Chiedozie Ogbene to net.

Minutes later, the winger on loan at Vitoria de Guimaraes nearly netted again. After showing immense close control to skin three players, his shot was blocked by Marcis Oss.

While Johnston didn’t net on his first appearance, the impressive showing has gone down well with the Irish media.

Buzz.ie gave Johnston a 7/10 for the cameo, saying: “A dream start for the debut star with a big contribution for Ireland’s winner.”

The Irish Times also gave Johnston a 7, saying: “His first touch as an Irish player saw the former Scotland underage player strike the post, with Ogbene capitalising on the rebound to knock home Ireland’s third goal.

“Performed an outrageous skilful dribbling run inside the box late on. A very encouraging cameo.”

Pundit Arena described Johnston as having “made an impact on the game” while the Irish Mirror also dished out a 7/10.

Sports Joe wrote: “Johnston made an immediate impact by running at the Latvia defence and hitting the post, before the ball bounced loose for Ogbene to score.

Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images

“The Celtic winger showed some nice touches and was dangerous when dribbling at the Latvia defence.”

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny’s assessment was brief: “That’s a snapshot of what Mikey can be.” (Independent)

On Twitter, prominent account Irish Propaganda said: “Very impressive debut from Mikey Johnston. The type of player we haven’t had in a while. Excellent stuff.”

So a great start for Mikey Johnston with the Republic of Ireland. Next up is the small matter of a qualifier against World Cup runners-up France in Dublin on Monday evening.

In other news, Hyeongyu Oh has made a great start to life at Celtic