LOAN Celt Mikey Johnston suffered defeat as the Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 to France in the Euro24 opener in Dublin last night.

The 23-year-old winger came on as a 77th-minute substitute for Jason Knight, but couldn’t help Stephen Kenny’s side claim the crucial equaliser.

Glaswegian Johnston, who made an impressive debut for his adopted nation in the 3-2 friendly win over Latvia last week, was thrown on with the hosts piling on the pressure as the World Cup Final runners-up desperately clung to their lead.

IRISH SIGHS…Nathan Collins sees his netbound effort saved by French keeper Mike Maignan.

Benjamin Pavard claimed the only goal of a stirring contest with a stunning drive which went in off the crossbar five minutes after the turnaround.

Johnston and his team-mates could only look on in disappointment when their last chance of claiming a point was denied in the fading moments when Nathan Collins’ header was clawed away at full stretch by keeper Mike Maignan.

The Hoops star, who turned out five times for the Scotland Under-21 side before switching his allegiance, will hope to get a start in June’s double-header against Greece and Gibraltar.

Johnston will return to Parkhead in the summer when his season-long loan at Portuguese top-flight club Vitoria Guimaeres comes to an end.

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