CELTIC great Peter Grant insists Alistair Johnston can be even better than Josip Juranovic.
The Croatian international right-back sealed a potential £10million switch to Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin at the weekend just after the Canadian new Bhoy eased his way through his fourth appearance in the 5-0 Scottish Cup win over Morton.
Juranovic watched the action from the stand before slipping out of the ground to continue his soccer journey in Germany.
Ange Postecoglou and his talent scouts saw enough of 24-year-old Vancouver-born Johnston during his performances in the World Cup Finals in Qatar to rate him worthy of the £3.5million fee that prised him from MLS club CF Montreal.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Alistair Johnston congratulates Liel Abada after his scintillating first-half display against Morton where the Israeli winger was involved in all four goals in the 5-0 win.
An approving Grant said: “The trick is to replace before you sell and that’s what Celtic have done here. Sometimes when you get money in for a player, selling clubs know you have cash and try to up the ante a bit.
“Celtic have done it the right way bringing Johnston in and it allowed Juranovic to move. It’s been good business and I believe Alistair Johnston could end up being even better.
“Will he be a good replacement? Absolutely. I’ve been really impressed with him on the pitch – and with the way he’s spoken off the pitch.
“Celtic use their full-backs slightly different than usual, with them pushing into the middle of the pitch. But he’s picked it up really quick and adapted really well.
“What I’ve noticed if the game is narrow and it’s tight in there, he will stay wide and use his football intelligence.”
Grant, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “He’s got physicality and intelligence. You hear the way he talks about the game. He’s a learner.
“One of the best things about him is – even though we like to talk about Celtic’s attacking play – is the fact he’s a bit of a throw back.
ONE FOR THE ROAD, ONE ON THE WAY BACK…Josip Juranovic sealed a weekend deal to Union Berlin while Anthony Ralston is battling against injury.
“He talks about defending, first and foremost. That’s the most important thing and the rest is a bonus. Johnston has a lot of bonuses. He’s got a lot of energy and you can see his strength.
“He’s already an international with great experience and I just feel he’ll get better and better playing with good players.
“Johnston has all the tools to be a top full-back.”
The recruit made his debut in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2, just 24 hours after his international clearance came through.
He kept his place in the 2-0 league win over Kilmarnock, but stepped down for the identical scoreline against the Ayrshire club in the Viaplay League Cup semi-final a week later.
However, he returned for the 4-0 win over St Mirren last midweek and coasted against the Championship side on Saturday.
Anthony Ralston has been posted missing in recent games with a back injury, but he could be in contention for the match against Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday.
Johnston v Ralston for the No.2 shirt has all the makings of an intriguing challenge throughout the season.