Celtic talent Mikey Johnston "nowhere near 100%" after 1-week injury layoff

By David Walton

December 22, 2021

Celtic winger Mikey Johnston has been deemed as “nowhere near 100%” despite playing in 4 of the club’s last 5 competitive matches.

Johnston has been a regular over the last few weeks after an injury picked up by Jota against Hearts earlier this month. The Portuguese looks set to be out well into the new year and will miss the January derby against Rangers at Parkhead [Daily Record].

That’s opened up a window of opportunity for Johnston. The Lennoxtown academy product has managed to feature against Dundee United, Real Betis, Motherwell, and Hibernian respectively over the last month. The only fixture he missed being the 2-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall. This came after he hobbled off against Motherwell days previously.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But despite ploughing ahead and looking to establish himself in the Celtic team once again, Johnston apparently charged on against Hibs despite still not being up to speed.

As quoted by the Daily Record [print edition, 21/12, page 48], manager Ange Postecoglou said: “No they’re not [taking their foot off the gas] and it’s the only reason we are being successful at the moment. You can’t hold back. It’s all-in or nothing and I’ve said that to them from day one. Whether it’s training or playing, you’ve got to be totally into this.

“There are at least two or three out there feeling it. Mikey Johnston is nowhere near 100% fit but I thought he was outstanding [against Hibs], real maturity from him to put his injury to one side and contribute to the team. There are a lot of those examples.”

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Celtic talent Mikey Johnston made an impression against Hibernian

Let’s not beat around the bush with Mikey. There is clearly a sizable element of the support that feels he should be offering more than he does when he’s on the park.

And you can understand that to an extent. Johnston gets himself into plenty of one-v-one positions, and even if he beats his man, he often makes a mess of his final ball. It’s something that’s plagued him so far this season when given opportunities by Postecoglou.

It continues to be the 1 key area of his game in which he needs to improve upon. That was shown up against Hibs in particular on Sunday in the League Cup final. The same goes for the Europa League clash against Real Betis in which Mikey should’ve sealed the game in the closing stages only for hesitancy to creep into his decision-making.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

You can’t say that he’s making the kind of impression that will see him keep the left-wing spot when Jota returns. However, he still adds something to Celtic going forward. He’s always looking to take on the full-back and up the urgency. There’s a reason we’re continuing to find the net in Jota’s absence.

Yes, he can be a frustrating player at times. That only comes because of the raw ability Johnston clearly has. Supporters only want him to realise his potential, and the player will likely understand that.

But it’s important to acknowledge the effort he’s been putting in over the last fortnight. To have put in such an energetic display against Hibs whilst being nowhere near fully fit deserves a bit of praise. Hopefully, the constant game-time leads to better end-product in the coming weeks as Johnston looks to cement himself.

In other news, La Liga legend sent superb message to Celtic player this week