Next season is make or break for Mikey Johnston at Celtic
The upcoming rebuild at Celtic is set to produce a considerable number of departures from the club, indicating opportunities will present themselves for those who stay put moving into the 2021/22 campaign.
One player widely expected to remain at Parkhead, for the time being, is Mikey Johnston. After breaking through the youth ranks at the Hoops in 2017, the 21-year-old has struggled to cement a consistent berth on the left-hand side of attack, due to injury lay-offs which have stalled a crucial period in his footballing development.
Looking forward, Celtic will need to devise a pathway for younger players to become a critical fixture in the first-team picture, in order to avoid the short-termism that has plagued the progression of the club on a European scale as well as domestically this season.
Johnston should be a key embodiment of this process, as his attributes perfectly conform to the style of football Celtic look to execute. Statistically, despite never holding down a starting spot for too long since his inception to the senior ranks, he has scored 11 goals and assisted eight in 57 appearances all in.
On initial viewing these numbers may look fairly ordinary, however on further examination, his goal contribution rate equates to roughly one in three games. Essentially, when he is afforded regular chances on the field, he is frequently engaged in Celtic’s chance creation even when not on top form.
Ultimately, his quality is a danger to the opposition and with a full calendar year under his belt free from injury, he has the potential to be one of the most important players for Celtic.
With uncertainty over Mohamed Elyounoussi’s future beyond 2020/21 at the Hoops, Johnston has an open goal at becoming the first-choice left-winger at his boyhood club.