Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston plays match at Estadio Nacional in the heat of Lisbon

By John McGinley

February 21, 2023

Boyhood Celtic fan Mikey Johnston had the experience of a lifetime at the weekend, getting the opportunity to play a match at the hallowed Estadio Nacional, scene of the Bhoys’ incredible European Cup triumph.

Johnston was playing away from home with Vitoria Guimaraes and featured for 66 minutes in a 0-0 draw against fellow top-flight side Casa Pia – who are currently playing their matches at the historic venue.

Posting on Instagram, Johnston wanted to share the event with fans, stating: “Onto the derby next week ⚔️ Recognise the stadium? 🍀”

Plenty of Celtic fans have visited the ground across the decades since the Lisbon Lions’ achievement, but there can’t be many who have had the chance to play there. It must have been quite the moment for him.

Johnston has kept himself injury free out on loan from Celtic, earning match minutes most weeks, and is due to return to Ange Postecoglou’s squad this summer after the Portuguese side admitted they couldn’t afford his permanent signature.

Portuguese football expert Aaron Barton told us this month that the winger had started brightly after initially moving on loan, though his form has tailed off a little.

Nonetheless, it’s been a positive experience for the 23-year-old, who was dying to show everyone he can play regularly across a season rather than just warming the bench or finding himself on the treatment table.

Johnston and his team will now face Braga next Monday night in one of Portugal’s hotly contested derbies. The stakes are high with Vitoria still pushing for a European place and Braga attempting to keep pace for a Champions League spot.

It would be fantastic to see him burst into a solid bit of form between now and the end of the season, before returning to Celtic with confidence.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou delivers verdict on Hampden pitch after Tuesday visit.