Steve Clarke admits he considered Celtic's Mikey Johnston for Scotland
Scotland manager Steve Clarke has admitted that he considered Mikey Johnston for international contention this month.
Johnston has been injured since the 2-0 derby win at Ibrox on September 1st. That was his last appearance for the Hoops, and he managed to star and bag an assist in the fixture too.
A nasty groin injury has halted his progress over the last four weeks. However, he’s still racked up some impressive numbers with three goals and four assists in just 10 appearances. So far this season, he’s been one of Celtic’s most creative influences.
But Clarke still believes that the likes of Johnston and Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour need more time to develop. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, this is what the national boss had to say:
“I considered Mikey Johnston as well who’s been in terrific form for Celtic. Scot (Gemmill) has some good players there (under-21s) and it’s important that they grow together as a group and if they can develop and get a winning mentality then that will be good for Scotland in the future.
“Billy’s an exceptional talent, an exceptional young talent, and we have to give the young players time to grow and develop.
“I think the best place for them to do that is in Scot’s Under 21 team. There are a lot of good boys down there.”
Johnston’s Scotland call-up can’t be far away
Nobody would’ve truly expected Johnston to have been called up for the upcoming matches against Russia and San Marino respectively. Johnston has been injured in the period between the last international break and now, he’ll have done nothing to change Clarke’s mind.
However, you have to wonder whether the Scotland boss made a huge mistake in not considering Mikey last month. He’s yet to be given a senior appearance for his country, and continues to ply his trade with the under-21s.
Whilst Gemmill’s side consists of a host of talented youngsters, Johnston is ready for the step-up. If you can perform in this Celtic side, you should have the capabilities to make your mark for Scotland.
Ryan Fraser currently occupies the left-wing role for Clarke. However, outside of that, we’re extremely lacking in quality back-up. Johnston is, by some distance, surely next in line after the Bournemouth man.
As mentioned previously, a call-up this month wouldn’t have suited us. Even though he’s back in training, he now hasn’t played a single game of football in over a month.
The break will hopefully help him get up to speed further before we return to a hectic winter schedule. And judging by Clarke’s comments, Johnston’s time at international level isn’t too far away either.