Mikey Johnston has become an impact player off the bench for Celtic in recent weeks, since returning from a long-term injury.
The Hoops winger’s latest cameo came in the 2-1 Boxing Day win over St Mirren, and it might have been his best yet. He gave the St Mirren defence plenty of problems with his direct running. So much so that Stephen McGinn was booked for pulling the Hoops winger back after a mazy run.
Johnston did look very dangerous in the 20 or so minutes that he was on the pitch, and that will have pleased Neil Lennon.
Will likely not start derby
Will Johnston get the nod to start against Rangers in the Glasgow derby on Sunday? Probably not. You would imagine that the wing spots will be occupied by James Forrest and Ryan Christie. However, that does not mean that Johnston will not feature in the game.
Indeed, unless Celtic suffer an injury or a red card, Johnston could well be the first substitution that Neil Lennon turns to. It should not be forgotten about that he came on at half-time of the Betfred Cup Final and came agonisingly close to scoring for the Hoops in that game.
Aim will be to regain first-team spot
Johnston’s aim for the season will be to get back into the first-team, like he was at the start of the season. That is a goal that will be shared by Neil Lennon. For the moment though, the player might need to wait a while for that to happen.
However, a good performance against Rangers could accelerate Johnston’s prospect of returning to the first team after the winter break. As the Glasgow derby is the last game the Hoops will play for three weeks, Johnston will want to leave Neil Lennon with a good impression to take into the winter break. If he can replicate the form he showed against St Mirren, Johnston is more than capable of doing that.