"Started off quite well" - The verdict on Mikey Johnston loan as Celtic summer return looms

By Hamish Carton

February 8, 2023

Celtic attacker Mikey Johnston’s loan spell at Vitoria de Guimaraes can be labelled as “a mixed bag” so far, according to Portuguese football journalist Aaron Barton.

As we told you yesterday, Johnston has been earning rave reviews from those inside the Primeira Liga club.

Vitoria have already stated they won’t be able to sign Johnston permanently in the summer. But what about his time in Portugal so far?

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

“He started off quite well,” Barton explained in a chat with 67 Hail Hail.

“When he was playing, and even coming off the bench, he was showing a real willingness to beat a man or get down the line.

“Despite only playing 600 odd minutes in the league, he still ranks quite high for the attacking numbers.

“I think he’s third at the club for chances created. He might be fourth for most completed dribbles. His issue has been in the goals and assists.

“He’s been in and out of the side, especially since the World Cup break. He started against Porto and wasn’t great, although neither were Vitoria. Since then it’s been really limited.

“You can really see what’s there. The frustration is getting it out of him.

“He will take on a player or two players, and he will really accelerate. Sometimes it’s just that he doesn’t do it enough.”

Barton’s words do chime with how a lot of Celtic fans feel about Johnston. He is clearly a talented player who can do incredible things with the ball at his feet.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

His issue has always been finding consistency, both in terms of performance and just in general game time.

Thankfully, Johnston hasn’t seemed to have any notable injury problems during his spell in Portugal.

With Vitoria sixth in the league, he still has plenty to achieve both personally and collectively before the end of the campaign.

When the loan is up, he will return to Celtic. Whether he can use his experience to force a way into Ange Postecoglou’s plans is something that we will find out in due course.

Aaron Barton was speaking to 67 Hail Hail for a video that will be on our YouTube channel on Monday evening