MIKEY JOHNSTON is walking a transfer tightrope before the January Sales get underway in just over a week’s time.
The Celtic winger has failed to convince in his eight appearances this season after spending last term on loan at Portuguese top-flight club Vitoria Guimaraes.
Johnston was pitched into action for the first time this campaign as a 65th-minute replacement for Luis Palma in the scoreless stalemate against Hibs at Easter Road in late October.
The Republic of Ireland international, under contract until the summer of 2025, was put in the spotlight by boss Brendan Rodgers after the champions’ 4-1 win over the same opponents at Parkhead at the beginning of this month.
ON THE BALL…Mikey Johnston in action in the goalless draw with Hibs at Easter Road in October.
Johnston made his first start of the season, but was told he “needs to do more” by the Hoops gaffer, as CQN reported.
The 24-year-old Glaswegian knows it’s make-or-break time for his career at his boyhood favourites.
A goal or two from his wide position would undoubtedly help his cause and boost his confidence, but, amazingly, Johnston has not claimed a Celtic strike for over FOUR years!
The tricky touchline operator last scored in a 4-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall on December 1 2019 when he came on as a 72nd-minute substitute for Tom Rogic and netted within 60 seconds.
Ever since that afternoon in the Highlands, excluding a penalty-kick in the Scottish Cup Final shoot-out success against Hearts in December 2020, the player has been firing blanks. In his Celtic career, he has claimed 11 strikes in total.
To be fair to Johnston, he has been blighted by injury and practically his entire 2020/21 term was obliterated and he made a mere 10 appearances in a wretched term for the Parkhead men.
THE LAST HURRAH…Mikey Johnston scores in a 4-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall in December 2019.
He turned out 20 times for Ange Postecoglou and played in the 2-1 Premier Sports League Cup Final triumph over Hibs six days before Christmas two years ago.
It was Rodgers who handed Johnston his debut in May 2017 when he played against St Johnstone in a 4-1 victory and the Irishman commented: “Mikey is a very exciting player. He’s fast and he still has a lot of growth left in him – but he’s just turned 18.
“He’s dynamic and, once he becomes a little bit better on the final pass and can add goals, then he’s going to be a big talent.”
So far, Rodgers is still waiting to be convinced.
All will be revealed when the transfer window opens on January 1 2024.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Livingston this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.