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JOHNSTON READY TO ANSWER SOS

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ROOKIE Mikey Johnston is ready to answer Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic striker SOS.

The 19-year-old could be asked to lead the attack for the crucial Festive encounters against Dundee, Aberdeen and Rangers before the club head for their welcome winter break in Dubai.

Johnston came on last night for the injured Odsonne Edouard and scored his first senior goal as he put the champions 3-0 ahead against Motherwell on the stroke of half-time.

Rodgers will discover later today the extent of the French ace’s injury, but there are fears he could be ruled out for the remainder of the year.

Leigh Griffiths, of course, is already sidelined with personal issues and that could mean rapid promotion for Johnston.

The exciting youngster is not one bit fazed at the proposition.

He said: “Just as long as I’m getting games, I don’t mind where I play. I just play where I’m told.

“I’m just taking it day by day and trying to work hard to try to earn a place in the team.

“If I can get in playing striker, that’s fine. Obviously, my preferred position is a winger, but I can play up front if that’s where I’m asked to go.

“All I can do is keep working hard in training and earn the right to play. I want to get as much game time as I can and keep learning off the older players.

“I’m really happy to get my first competitive goal. I’ve been waiting a while to get it, so I’m buzzing to finally get off the mark.

“It’s been playing on my mind. I really needed to get that first goal out of the way. I’m just happy to have done that now.”

After 14 competitive appearances since breaking through from the Under-20s last season, it was a huge psychological breakthrough that he is determined to build upon.

Johnston continued: “The manager didn’t say much to me before I went on, just to play my usual game and go on and work hard. He didn’t put me under pressure.

“The manager is good, but all the players have been good to me. Everyone is looking after me, giving advice and I’m just trying to take bits of information from everyone and keep progressing.

“The good thing is that Celtic is the type of club that is always looking to develop and bring through young players, so it’s up to me to work hard and take my chances.”

Talking of his wonder strike, Johnston added: “I didn’t even realise it had hit the net at first.

“I had family up in the stand to see it, too. My mum and dad were in the players’ lounge and some of the boys were saying they were all going mental. So, I’m buzzing to have made them happy.

“They’ve been a huge support to me, driving me everywhere when I was younger going up to Inverness for games.

“I’m really grateful for all that they do and it was nice that they were here to see it.”

Anthony Ralston, making his first top team appearance of the campaign, opened the scoring with a crisp low show and Scott Sinclair smashed in a penalty-kick before Johnston took centre stage.

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