Ange Postecoglou addresses Mikey Johnston's Celtic return after B team impact

By David Walton

March 12, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has addressed the potential return of Mikey Johnston to the Celtic first-team, as he stated he’s now available for selection.

Johnston was part of the Celtic B side that ran riot against Partick Thistle in the Glasgow Cup last week. The winger scored a superb curling effort in the rout as he returned to action in impressive fashion.

The Lennoxtown academy product has been out of action since a 55-minute outing against Raith Rovers back in February. It’s been yet another campaign in which injury problems have held the talented winger back.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

And as he returns to first-team training today after his impact during the week, Ange played it coy over whether he could start being involved in more matchday squads.

Speaking via Celtic YouTube, Ange said: “That was the whole idea. Mikey missed a couple of weeks. Mikey, Karamoko [Dembele], Johnny [Kenny] got some game-time and they’re available. That means they got through the game okay.

“They obviously had today off [Thursday] because they played but they’ll be back training with us on Saturday and they’re available. Mikey is in the same boat as everyone else. To be fair, it’s not easy because if you come to our training at the moment, I’ve got the easy job. I could probably pick 2 or 3 different XIs and still come out looking like a genius.

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“The boys are the ones who are working really hard and fighting hard for spots not just in the XI but in the squad. That’s exactly the space we want to be in where they’re all pushing each other. That means that if they get an opportunity they’re in good shape, and that includes guys like Mikey.”

Mikey Johnston gets the “in the same boat as everyone else” message

It’s great to have Johnston back as it of course leads to more cover down the left flank. We have to be delighted with that and hopefully he can indeed make some sort of impact over the next 8 league games.

However, this looked like Ange trying to downplay any expectation that he’ll come straight back into matchday squads nevermind the first XI. You can see the Celtic manager trying to be as diplomatic as possible here.

The truth is that he knows he has more efficient and reliable options than Mikey at the moment. He knows that you can’t exactly drop Daizen Maeda or Jota to throw in the Scotland under-21 international. That’s no slight on Mikey, it’s just down to the fact that this is a crucial time of the season and we need players who have been performing for us consistently.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It was a start for him against Partick in the Glasgow Cup last week. Making an impression for the B team is always positive for players’ confidence levels. Mikey is no different in that sense. He’ll have taken something big from it, and it remains to be seen how it affects him in the coming weeks.

But if truth be told, his only goal should really be to stay injury-free. Because that’s the main concern we all have with Mikey at the moment. His lack of capability when it comes to being fit and available on a consistent basis.

So making a first-team impact, whilst important and ultimately the main goal, may need to be put back to the summer. All that matters for Mikey individually is that he manages to build up his fitness levels and comes back in pre-season ready to seriously push on.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou’s classy remarks after being lauded by young coaches