Mikey Johnston’s goal was undoubtedly the highlight of the night last night. Has he therefore provided a case to be Celtic’s front-man in Odsonne Edouard’s absence?
First off, nobody knows as of yet just how long Edouard could be missing for. Brendan Rodgers simply stated that the club would assess it and take things from there. “Over the next 24 hours” was how the Celtic manager put it, and it’s likely to be a nervous wait.
Meanwhile, Celtic have absolutely no natural alternatives to the Frenchman. Leigh Griffiths is unavailable due to personal issues, whilst Celtic don’t have a third-choice striker in their first team squad.
That means a false-nine is going to have to feature should worse come to worst. It’s certainly not ideal heading into two must-win games against Aberdeen and Rangers away from home. They both come after Saturday’s home clash with Dundee.
So Celtic are in need of an unnatural forward to step up – and Johnston fancies himself for it.
Brimming with confidence
“If I can get in playing striker, that’s fine. Obviously my preferred position is a winger but I can play up front if that’s where I’m asked to go.
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“All I can do is keep working hard in training and earn the right to play. I want to get as much game time as I can and keep learning off the older players.
“Just as long as I’m getting games I don’t mind where I play. I just play where I’m told.”
You can see the confidence that goal against Motherwell last night has given him. But giving him roles in the matches against Aberdeen and Rangers is a difficult thing to back.
Johnston is still shrugged off the ball fairly easily. Trying to hold it up against big and commanding centre-backs isn’t really his game. In that sense, you need Edouard in there.
Rodgers is definitely more likely to go with an experienced campaigner like Scott Sinclair or James Forrest in that position. The returning Ryan Christie is also a standout to play in the false-nine role, with his confidence blazing and his goal-return the most impressive of any midfielder.
Johnston’s goal last night was a timely reminder of his own capabilities. It was just his first competitive goal in 16 appearances. He would be an interesting choice if given the shot, and has plenty of potential.
But whilst it would be interesting to see, and the player is clearly up for it – Rodgers likely isn’t.