The question many were asking in the wake of last night’s game was whether or not Neil Lennon was right to be openly furious at Mikey Johnston after the player needed to be subbed in last night’s game. I thought then, and now, that the manager had it spot on.
There is nothing brave or macho about a player “playing through the pain”. It’s just stupid.
This afternoon, Neil Lennon confirmed that Johnston’s injury is a bad one; “long term” is how it was put. That’s bad for the player, and it’s bad for us. We’ve let two players from the left side of the pitch depart in this window, and now we’ve lost a third and who knows for how long?
The need for Lennon to get his wide player before the window shuts is now acute.
Johnston looked shaky from the moment he went down.
You could tell watching it on the telly that he ought to have come off, and the manager obviously thought the same. He held up the Klimala change to explicitly ask the player if he was fit. He knew that it wasn’t right, but he had to trust the player on the matter. He regretted it almost immediately.
It did us no harm on the night; we were three up and the clock was ticking down. On another day that could have left us with ten men in a tight spot. That will be of less concern to Lennon today than the news that the player is going to miss a lot of games as a consequence.
It actually looked ominous last night, when Lennon appeared more conciliatory when he spoke to BT Sport after the match.
He had obviously been furious in the moment, but his mood would have changed in the dressing room when he got the initial assessment. When he went in front of the cameras he was no longer angry about it; he seemed wearily resigned to bad news when the question was put to him.
You knew then it was worse than it had seemed.
Mikey is one of the most exciting footballers to have emerged from our club in many years, but he’s still a little lightweight and needs to bulk up a bit as the likes of Christie have done. Then, I’m pretty confident that his injury issues will fade away as they have for Forrest and others.
But the raw talent is there, and it’s obvious.
He only recently signed a new deal and will be with the club for years to come.
This will not threaten his place in the squad or anything like that, but it ought to serve as a lesson to him. Lennon was right to be angry. Not only did the young lad jeopardise his own well-being last night, but he screwed with the team and the short-to-medium term planning.
Lennon should already have his wide-man signing; we all know who has fallen down on the job, yet again, in failing to get the manager what he required.
We certainly need to get something over the line on that front now.
If people are still sleeping at the wheel, then this should give them the shake they require.
Time is pressing on us and, as usual, we’ve waited until disaster has struck.
Yesterday The Rumour Guy did a piece on Kamil Grosiki; he’s availabe, all told, for £900,000 or thereabouts.
It’s a steal, and we should be in there for him and making him an offer he can’t refuse.