Michael “Mikey” Johnston has been at Celtic since he was nine. He is a product of our own youth system. He has worked hard to crack the first team. He is now 19. He signed a brand new deal – a three year deal – back in May last year. There is no question that he will be offered a new one before this season ends.
He’s a squad player now. He will not stay one.
Mikey has it all. He is a tricky player who can play on both the left and the right, and even behind the forwards. The manager has tremendous faith in him; he was selected first under Brendan and the manager has continued to work with him on improving his game. Rodgers’ likes certain things in a player, and the kid has all of them.
There is little doubt we’re watching a major talent developing here. His recent performances have been excellent. The manager is not afraid to pitch this kid into big games. He will get more of them as the season rolls on, and his form is one of the reasons Daniel Arzani was left out of the European squad when it was announced earlier.
Johnston is a home-grown player; this is important to us. He joins Forrest, McGregor, Tierney and Ralston as counting towards our quota of those for future European campaigns. The more the merrier. On top of that, it’s a huge coup to have so many of our own footballers in the first team squad. It speaks volumes about our academy system.
It also saves us money. If Mikey can produce the goods it means we’re less likely to have to spend a fortune on a wide player. It creates competition for players like Forrest, Sinclair, Morgan, Christie and others. It keeps them on their toes.
The manager promotes on merit. He gives out team jerseys on that basis. Mikey would not be in the squad, far less the team, unless the coaches believed that he had something big to offer. There is no sentiment in this game; Johnston is going to be special.
The only thing our fans like better than seeing a player blazing a trail in our team is a player who the club reared doing it. It is an exciting time for us with talent like this rising up through the ranks, and it is a credit to our manager than he’s willing to promote from within.
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