It is over three years since Mikey Johnston played a pivotal role in a 0-2 win at Ibrox, which was a pivotal win in Celtic achieving nine-in-a-row for the second time. At the time I wondered why Neil Lennon signed Mohamed Elyounoussi, who also played left wing, a few days earlier. Mikey was our future, or so it seemed.
Mohamed is a solid performer, but the calibre of wingers at Celtic has vastly improved in the years since. Jota, Maeda and Abada are all a class ahead, while Haksabanovic has potential to reach greater heights. Mikey seemed destined to slip away.
Last night’s cameo on his debut for the Ireland national team was jarringly impressive. There was a jink worthy of the Lord of the Wing DVD.
Wingers are usually the players most substituted and circulated in-and-out of the team. Some with abundant talent, like Patrick Roberts, join teams who defend too often to afford the luxury of a talented wide player. Jota spent a season on loan largely watching his Valladolid team-mates before arriving in Glasgow.
His season on loan at Vitoria Guimareas should be perfect for Mikey. They are fifth in a table of 18 clubs, 10 points behind fourth placed Sporting. With little to chase ahead of them, they are free to deploy attacking talent against the 13 clubs below them, but Mikey has only started 8 from 25 league games.
The parable here is probably not to encourage your son to be a winger, unless he is 6’2” and built like the proverbial. The jink is a dying attribute.