IT wasn’t quite a Goal of the Week contender.

It wasn’t even a Goal of the Game contender, but it will remain unforgettable to Alistair Johnston as he insists the effort belongs to him.

The Canada World Cup right-back, who joined the champions in a £3.5million switch from MLS club CF Montreal in January, is adamant he has scored his first counter for the Hoops in the 5-1 comeback victory over St Mirren in Paisley yesterday.

AIR WE GO…Alistair Johnston rises above Mark O’Hara as the ball is diverted beyond St Mirren keeper Trevor Carson for Celtic’s second goal in Paisley.

Picture the scene. Filipe Jota is crudely body-checked by Ryan Strain after the Portuguese ace slips the ball through the defender’s legs on the left wing and prepares to carry on into the penalty area.

There is no argument as referee David Dickinson awards the foul. Aaron Mooy shapes to take the kick. The astute Aussie sizes up the situation while Cameron Carter-Vickers takes up pole position in the centre of the box.

However, the playmaker spies a better option at the far post. He flights in a lovely hanging ball, Johnston, all vigour and desire, steams in to rise above Mark O’Hara and the ball is bundled beyond the rooted Trevor Carson to put the visitors ahead.

Johnston, as expected, celebrates wildly as his team-mates and substitutes warming up in that corner of the ground join in.

So far, so good.

JOY BHOYS…a delighted Alistair Johnston is swamped by Celtic team-mates after claiming the second strike.

Some eagled-eyed commentators reckon it’s an own goal with the ball going in off the Saints player.

Former St Mirren boss Jack Ross and former St Mirren player Chris Iwelumo, sitting on the BBC Sportscene couch, claim the goal should be nullified and are adamant the defender used a hand.

All of this, of course, means zilch to an overjoyed 24-year-old Vancouver-born international star who is already winning over the hearts of the Celtic followers.

Johnston smiles and says: “I’m going to take it and claim it. It felt like mine and I celebrated like it was mine.

“I hope Canada woke up early for that kick-off to see that and it was an important one.

“We knew at half-time, being down a goal but up a man, we had to stick to what we were doing and we got the equaliser and then it felt good to at least be part of the goal that pushed us ahead.

“It was a good result in the end and a good performance in the second-half.”

THE OLD ONE-TWO…Joe Hart and Alistair Johnston celebrate in Paisley.

Johnston, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “Our leadership helped us not go off the script and to keep creating chances.

“It paid off and it’s a credit to the manager for keeping everyone level-headed at half-time.

“We kept playing our football and our subs came on and made a difference, raised the levels again and then once we got the first we knew we would get the next and we kept going.”

Jota, Liel Abada, Matt O’Riley and Oh Hyeon-gyu, with a penalty-kick, joined in the goal parade in the second period after the Hoops had gone in trailing following yet another contentious penalty-kick decision.

It didn’t matter in the end as Ange Postecoglou’s side wiped out the memory of a dreadful 2-0 loss at the same venue in September, the only domestic reverse this season.

Now the attention turns to Hearts at Parkhead on Wednesday evening as the march towards a second successive championship continues.

Jaunty Johnston aims to play his part.


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