Why Ange’s Most Impressive Celtic Signing Might Well Be Our Canadian Bhoy.

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At the weekend, we saw some great moments from Ange’s attacking signings.

Kyogo got two and has proved himself again to be our big game player who rises to the moment. Jota scored one and showed that he, too, shines on this kind of stage.

All the media coverage of our attacking players is due them.

They have been brilliant. They are the reasons we’re sitting top with a 12-point lead and heading for a second title under Ange. They are the reasons we’re all optimistic about a treble.

The respect we all have for our front men is enormous, of course. But we’re missing a trick here because Ange’s most impressive signing so far might not be a front man at all, but Alastair Johnston, our Canadian right back., who more and more looks like our successor to Kieran Tierney, albeit on the other side of the pitch. Yes, he’s that good.

He reminds me a lot of Tierney. His thirst for battle. His strength on the ball. His athleticism. His will to win. How unshakable he is. This is a kid who made his debut at Ibrox what seemed like five minutes after we signed him.

How the Hell did Ange know he could cope with that pressure? How could the big guy have been so totally convinced by this lad that he gave him such a critical task in such a massive game?

That is beyond just good scouting. That’s real insight.

Look at who Johnston was replacing in the team, on top of that. A player who reached the World Cup semi-final and had a storming competition. Imagine being asked to come into the team and take over from such a player? That brings with it a level of scrutiny which is all its own. And yet Johnston has coped with all of it, and even risen above it.

He already looks like an upgrade on Juranovic, who I think some of us wondered about defensively at times. Johnston does not inspire any of the concerns that the big Croat sometimes did, and I write that as someone who really enjoyed watching him play.

Johnston looks like one of those footballers who could play anywhere.

He has all the tools to be an outstanding talent and I find it particularly amusing when the media is pouring honey on the Ibrox right back because he can take a free kick that we have a player in the same position who is light years ahead of him and is young enough that he’ll get better.

It is amazing that we’ve found such a major talent, and even more amazing that he has the temperament and attitude to slot into this team so completely. The manager knows more than just how to spot a player.

It is something close to genius.

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  • Jayman says:

    You keep referring to Juranovic as “the big Croat”. He stands just under 5ft 8ins, hardly big by today’s standards.

  • 18871888 says:

    Ange doesn’t spot the right player, he spots the right character who can play.

  • John S says:

    Excellent replacement, good performances, still young. I’m sure he’ll have learned quite recently to look behind when encountering diagonal cross balls.

  • Johnno says:

    Was also a big fan of josip as a player and done a very decent job with his time spent at the club.
    AJ was the 1st signing in the 2nd phase of the Ange revolution and what an impact already made.
    We know Ange likes players with a good degree of flexibility and AJ provides that with also confident that he could adapt to the ever increasing popular use of the 3 at the back especially with CL in mind if Ange wanted to change the team formation.
    For someone so young still, the levels of consistency he has already set have been remarkable, to the degree that you think he’s been here for years instead of a few months.
    Has all the qualities to have a big future within the game and the longer that remains with ourselves, all the better for us.
    A big fan favourite already and with the right temperament for that to grow even stronger still.
    Another brilliant Ange signing

  • jrm63 says:

    His performance was mixed on Saturday to say the least. And lets not forget the unnecessary free kick he gave away which led to their goal in the cup final. Watching both Celtic and Rangers over the past 3 games the rate of unforced errors has been staggering. What was O’Riley thinking on Saturday when he dived in like that to concede a free kick 1 minute before half time in a central position? Their second goal? Tavernier looked like someone who had been stuck on a desert island when a plane flies overhead. Johnston should have picked up on the wind flow alone. We are better in open play but he and we have to eradicate these errors

    • Johnny Green says:

      Spot on with all your comments, they echo my own thoughts, and Johnston is still far from the finished article.

  • Martino says:

    I have to agree.
    I said this to my son as we were leaving Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon.
    Whisper it, but he might actually be an upgrade on Juranovic. No disrespect intended to Jura, who was a smashing player.

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