MIKEY JOHNSTON won the Man of the Match award in the Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last night.

However, the Celtic winger, who has figured in only 25 minutes for the champions in this campaign, admitted he is still off the pace as far as the Hoops are concerned.

Johnston caught the eye with an exhilarating performance in the friendly encounter against the Kiwis, but he has missed out on Brendan Rodgers’ last three match day squads and there is no guarantee he will figure against Motherwell at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon.

The 24-year-old Glaswegian said: “I’ve not had as much game time as I would have liked this year, so I’m trying to make as much of an impact as I can with the fitness I have at the moment.”

GREEN FOR GO…Mikey Johnston turned in a Man of the Match performance for the Republic of Ireland.

Asked if his display will have been noted by Rodgers, Johnston answered: “It could do. I’ve obviously not scored or assisted which is what I wanted to do, but getting Man of the Match is nice.

“I enjoyed myself, and playing in an Ireland shirt, I love it at the moment.”

Johnston, speaking to the Irish Examiner, added: “We played some good football tonight and I enjoyed myself out there.

“Obviously, I was happy to be on the pitch and contribute. I had a bit of fun out there. We wanted to get a positive result, but it wasn’t to be.”

Rodgers will be without Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda in the countdown to the turn of the year, but has turned to summer recruits Luis Palma and Yang Hyun-jun who played and scored in the 6-0 win over Aberdeen last time out.

James Forrest has also figured with Johnston’s sole appearance coming in the scoreless stalemate against Hibs at Easter Road last month.

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