ALISTAIR JOHNSTON faces a Friday D-Day with his move to Celtic poised to get the green light.
The impressive right-back will be involved in Canada’s final World Cup Group F match against Morocco in Qatar the previous day.
Once the 24-year-old defender has completed his duties for his country he will be able to turn his full focus on the switch to Ange Postecoglou’s champions.
The deal is just about done between the two clubs with the Hoops agreeing a transfer fee of upwards of £3million – as CQN forecast last week – for the back-four operator who only cost £800,000 when he joined MLS outfit CF Montreal from Nashville last December.
HEADS I WIN…Alistair Johnston climbs high above Josip Juranovic to clear for Canada against Croatia, but it was the Celt who finished with the victory.
Johnston is reported to be due 10 per cent of the transfer fee with his former club also scheduled for a percentage of the profit.
The player’s value has rocketed following solid performances in the soccer showpiece in the Middle East, despite the Canadians losing 1-0 to Belgium on Wednesday and 4-1 to Croatia last night.
Josip Juranovic was an opponent as the Canadians claimed their first-ever goal in five attempts at this elite level when Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies got in between the Celt and Dejan Lovern to head powerfully into the net inside two minutes.
But Croatia gradually worked their way back into the contest with Mateo Kovacic overshadowing his international team-mate Luka Modric for once with his driving runs from the middle of the park that their opponents couldn’t deal with once the Chelsea powerhouse went into overdrive.
Andrej Kramaric equalised with a low angled drive in the 38th minute and a surging sprint from Juranovic as he came in from the right set up Marko Livaja to fire Croatia into the lead a minute before the interval.
HEADS I WIN…Alphonso Davies fires in a header for Canada’s historic World Cup breakthrough goal, but Josip Juranovic and Dejan Lovren finished with a 4-1 victory.
The gallant attempt by Johnston and his colleagues to get back into the game was torpedoed when Kramaric whipped in the third in the 70th minute and Lovro Majer put gloss on the scoreline for his nation with a fourth deep in stoppage time.
After a shaky start, Juranovic settled into his usual dependable rhythm and any prospective buyers would have taken note.
It looks as though the 27-year-old No.2, who was signed for a bargain £2.5million from Legia Watsaw in August last year, will be on his way in the January transfer window with Chelsea, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid already linked in recent times.
Now Johnston, who holds a UK passport with his mother born in Northern Ireland, will go through the formality of saying farewell to the global extravaganza against Morocco on Thursday afternoon as the curtain comes down on Canada’s brave effort.
Any contractual matters on the club front can then be addressed and Postecoglou, as he has proved in past deals in the marketplace, doesn’t tend to hang around when he makes his move.