It’s sounding more and more as if Mikey Johnston’s season is over after picking up his injury at McDiarmid Park.
When Celtic mauled St Johnstone 3-0 in Perth at the end of January, there was only one negative. Johnston had to come off after aggravating a knee injury despite initially being offered to come off earlier.
Since then we haven’t seen him due to ligament damage. He continues to miss out, with Greg Taylor occupying the left wing-back role.
It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a quick healer either. We’re now nearly two months from the date of the injury, and Celtic boss Neil Lennon still described the setback as a “long-term” one when speaking in this week’s Celtic View (11/03, page 04).
“We’ve lost some important players at key times in the season. We’ve even changed the system at times and adapted to that and I think in the main now we have almost a full compliment. Mikey Johnston’s the one real long-term injury but the rest of the squad seem pretty healthy up until now”.
Chances won’t be there for Johnston this season
Even if Mikey managed to recover in the next month or so, it’s unlikely that he’ll get a chance to make an impression between now and the end of the season.
Cameo appearances here and there in games after we’ve won the league is a possibility. However, given Lennon’s latest update, it’s clear he won’t be affecting the title-race or the Scottish Cup campaign this season.
It’s a real blow for a player who’s picked up knocks at the wrong times this season. Remember, Johnston was the most impressive pre-season performer and went on to perform superbly against Rangers at Ibrox. That was followed by a groin injury that kept him out for several months (Transfermarkt).
His appearance against St Johnstone back in January was his sixth consecutive league outing too. Yet, without managing to make an impact, he picked up his current knock that looks to have ended his season.
So for Mikey, at this point it looks most logical to look ahead to pre-season next term as opposed to worrying about trying to force his way back before the current campaign ends. The last thing we need is a further aggravation to his current knock and for him to miss any pre-season work.
The current squad will do just fine in seeing out the season with Taylor, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Jonny Hayes all available down the left. Johnston, however, has a big battle on his hands to get back into first-team action, and therefore must make the correct individual decisions.