ALISTAIR JOHNSTON was introduced to the Celtic fans in the 2-2 derby deadlock at Ibrox on January 2.
The Canada World Cup right-back replaced fans’ favourite Josip Juranovic and immediately delivered the sort of sound performance that reassured the club support Ange Postecoglou had unearthed another gem in his squad revamp.
Johnston, bought from MLS outfit CF Montreal for £3.5million, hasn’t looked back since his whirlwind start and emphasised his worth to the champions with a Man of the Match display in the 3-2 triumph over Michael Beale’s side in the east end of Glasgow yesterday.
ALL SMILES…Alistair Johnston enjoys the aftermath of a crucial 3-2 win.
The impressive 24-year-old international played a pivotal role in the victory that pushed the team 12 points clear at the league summit and three wins away from a second successive crown.
A delighted Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “I think he’s one who loves a battle and it’s fair to say that he enjoys that side of the game – and a game like today is tailor-made for him.
“He also showed composure at times when we needed it, but there’s no doubt he’s got that real competitive edge to him and every team needs players like that, particularly in games like this, and credit to him.
“He’s been with us for about four months and he’s already played in these games three times, so he’s one that will have a very good career for this football club.”
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT…Alistair Johnston is floored after a double challenge from Ryan Kent and Malik Tillman.
Johnston has now squared up to the Glasgow opponents at Ibrox, Hampden and Parkhead and has won two and drawn one of the trio of meetings.
He picked up his first Celtic honour following the 2-1 victory over Beale’s team in the League Cup Final in February and could even complete his first six months at the Hoops with medals in all three domestic trophies.
The action-man defender, who claimed his first goal for the club in the 5-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley last month, is now looking forward to performing on the plastic pitch at Rugby Park when Postecoglou’s men face Kilmarnock a week today.