Robert Snodgrass retirement could kick Mikey Johnston's Scotland career into gear

By John McGinley

October 16, 2019

It’s fair to say Celtic have missed Mikey Johnston’s presence since losing him to injury back in early September.

The 20-year-old has been one of the real success stories of Neil Lennon’s second spell at the club.

In the early stages of this season he proved to be the kind of consistent presence we needed on the left flank. He has scored three goals and assisted four more in ten appearances so far this term.

Despite that form, he’s struggled to be part of Steve Clarke’s Scotland set-up. The former Killie boss admitted recently (The Scottish Sun) he considered the young winger for a call-up, but instead chose to go with other, more experienced players.

The national team aren’t exactly blessed with attacking options though and in recent times options have been further reduced. The retirement of Robert Snodgrass means there’s an opening moving forward and it’s an opportunity that should be real motivation to Johnston on his return to the Celtic fold.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

A huge chance

With Scotland playing next month, Johnston now has a few weeks of heavy Celtic action across a number of competitions to prove he has what it takes to make an impact at international level.

The player looks to be counting down the days on his return to first-team football and getting more minutes in Lennon’s team. In his absence nobody has really locked down the left wing position, so Johnston will likely get opportunities.

If he can replicate his contribution from the first couple of months of the season he should be in line to get a call up.

In fact, The Scottish Sun are already reporting he could be included in the squad to face Cyprus and Kazakhstan.

In Snodgrass’ surprise announcement, he specifically noted he would like his retirement to pave the way for young players coming through.

It’s time for Johnston to step up and take the next big step in his burgeoning career.