ALISTAIR JOHNSTON is as good as a signed Celtic player – if former fans’ favourite Victor Wanyama has his way.
The former Hoops midfielder has urged the Canadian World Cup right-back not to hesitate in making the move to Ange Postecoglou’s champions.
Johnston appears to be heading for Scotland with the Parkhead hierarchy and CF Montreal already agreeing a deal around the £3.5million mark and it will be down to the 24-year-old defender to accept personal terms on what is likely to be a four-and-a-half year contract.
BRAVO, VICTOR…powerhouse midfielder Victor Wanyama heads in Celtic’s opening goal in their memorable 2-1 win over Barcelona at Parkhead on November 7 2012.
Wanyama, who is a club team-mate at the MLS outfit, has sold Celtic and the supporters to the back-four operator who will be able to concentrate on the switch once his country’s participation in the soccer showpiece officially ends on Thursday with their final encounter against Morocco.
Back-to-back defeats against Belgium and Croatia have effectively ended Canada’s interest among the globe’s elite.
Josip Juranovic is edging towards the Parkhead exit in the January transfer window just 16 months after joining for £2.5million from Legia Warsaw. The departure of the 27-year-old No.2 will leave Postecoglou with Anthony Ralston as his only recognised right-back.
Johnston has been on the Greek-Australian’s radar even before a ball was kicked in Qatar and the player revealed: “Victor is one who has definitely been in my ear about it.
RISE AND SHINE…Alistair Johnston outjumps Josip Juranovic during Canada’s 4-1 loss to Croatia at the weekend.
“He had glowing reviews for the club. He was one of the ones who said to me: ‘Look, if you get an opportunity and something comes up at Celtic, you have to take it’.
“Vic says it’s the biggest club he had ever played for and he has played for some pretty big clubs in Spurs and Southampton — so that was a pretty glowing recommendation.
“He said that anywhere he went he still got constant shouts of ‘Hail, Hail’ and ‘Come on the Bhoys’.
“So, I got a glowing review from Victor and I have done a lot of my own research.
“Victor has done a lot of research for me as well, to be fair — he’s the best agent Celtic could have.”
Asked for an update on the transfer reports, Johnston, speaking to the Daily Mail, answered: “I just have to wait until the World Cup finishes, then see what happens. At this moment I am just so focused on the national team.
“The World Cup is an amazing experience and I want to savour every minute and give my all.
“Whatever happens after that will happen.”
BY THE RIGHT…Alistair Johnston thumps over a cross while in action for CF Montreal.
The Celtic target was born in Vancouver, but holds a British passport courtesy of his Northern Irish mother. With Scottish blood on his father’s side, he hopes to use a move to Glasgow to explore his family tree.
Johnston added: “My mum was born in Northern Ireland and my dad’s side is English and Scottish.
“My father’s grandparents were both from Scotland. I don’t know exactly where from — I need to find out — but I do know my mum was born and raised just outside Belfast.”
It’s only a matter of time before Johnston, a tenacious, attack-minded right-sided operator, becomes the Hoops’ second signing when the window reopens in January.
Vissel Kobe’s 22-year-old centre-back Yuki Kobayashi has already agreed a five-year switch from the J-League and is expected at Lennoxtown next month for training.
The move will then be rubber-stamped and the left-sided defender will be available to play from January 1.
Johnston could be in an identical situation as a new year and a new era begins for Postecoglou and Co at Scotland’s title kings.