Why Mikey Johnston will own 2021 at Celtic

By David Walton

December 25, 2020

2020 has been a total write-off for Mikey Johnston at Celtic, but next year will be so much different.

Indeed, Johnston suffered nasty knee tear that forced him into surgery. After a January outing against St Johnstone, he found himself out for 11 months of action. 2020 was just a year of total rehab and nothing else.

Whilst he’s had a few cameo appearances over the last month, he’s not quite there yet. It’s going to take Mikey time to get himself upto speed and available to play more minutes.

However, the early signs are so exciting. He’s been close to finding the net on several occasions and doesn’t look to have lost any of his pace. He’s still got that directness about him that we’ve missed too much this season.

And make no mistake, Johnston is best placed to dominate the left-wing position.

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Celtic opportunities will be there for Mikey to seize

With Mohamed Elyounoussi scheduled to head back to Southampton in the summer, Johnston is in a good place. He can use much of the rest of the season to get himself back up to speed. Although in fairness, we’ll be wanting him to make a big impact over the next few months.

Come the summer, it really is Johnston’s position to seize. With his directness and energy, he can easily make the biggest impact of any other Celt over the next 12 months. With the lack of competition there, a massive door is opening for him this year.

Granted, much of that is going to depend on how quickly he gets himself 100%. It’ll also depend on whether he can remain injury-free from here on in. But it’s important that we remember just how effective he was in Lennon’s first full season in charge.

Neil Lennon subs on Celtic winger Mikey Johnston (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

In the 2019/20 campaign, an impressive pre-season led to Johnston commanding a place in colossal matches. He shines against the likes AIK and Rennes in Europe as well as Rangers at Ibrox. Overall, Johnston managed 12 direct goal contributions in 21 games (Transfermarkt). It was a stunning return before his untimely injury.

But there is no clear candidate available to challenge him once Moi departs. So everything has set up absolutely beautifully for Johnston as the new year kicks in.

With the first game of 2021 a trip to Ibrox too, he has a glorious opportunity to kick off the new year with a bang.