Mikey Johnston Is Starting To Sound Like A Guy Who Knows His Celtic Dream Is Over.

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What last weekend showed us all – and when I say all I mean everyone in the Celtic Family from fans to those inside the club itself – was that our boy on the wing, Yang, has potential that needs to be nurtured.

We all know that Palma has got it. Abada is quality and Maeda is a superstar.

The battle between the four of them will be the one that defines us out wide. Forrest is a guy we know we can rely on from the bench, and there’s still the question of Tillio to answer. Where exactly this leaves Mikey Johnston is an open question … and here’s the thing; it’s a question that Mikey himself has started to ask.

Today he sounds a lot like a guy who has put a timeframe on his Celtic career in its current form; he wants it sorted it by January, presumably so he can consider his options then. For a guy who has just signed a new deal, and must have had high hopes, that must be hard to take. But he is doing the right thing putting a deadline up. For him and for us.

“(Playing in the Champions League) is sort of what I wanted to do as a boy so hopefully it happens but if it doesn’t it’s not the end of the world. No player is going to be happy when they’re not playing. Ultimately, it’s up to me and I need to try and force my way into that team,” he said. “I have until January to do that and I will try and give it everything to do that but we just have to see what happens. I’ve not spoken to the manager much in the last sort of month, we’ve had chats here and there. It’s tough decisions for the manager to make and ultimately, it’s up to me.”

His frustration is obvious. But he’s directing it to the right place, at himself. He’s assumed full responsibility for his failure to crack the team and that’s the right start. His ambition is in his own hands and he needs to grab at it.

How many times have I written that or something like it over the last year or two? Too many. But this one is different, because this time it’s Johnson himself who acknowledges what it is that we’ve all been saying over and over again; he needs to make the breakthrough soon or he needs to move on.

It’s no use to him hanging around here to crowd out the bench and we cannot hang onto a guy who isn’t going to make it just because he checks a European box.

It is important for us to check those boxes, but keeping someone around for no other reason than he does that is just stupid. Johnston needs to seize every moment that comes along, he needs to impress every single time he’s on the pitch.

He needs to give the manager decisions to make, and he can look at David Turnbull as an example of how hard it is to stay in the team anyway; Turnbull is scoring goals for fun and still isn’t guaranteed a place.

This is an incredibly difficult side to crack now, even for good players. Mikey says he wants to play every week; he will have to be really good to do that, because that’s not the sort of assurance that Rodgers gives anybody.

If that’s what he wants to do then he’s going to have to leave because here at Celtic that is definitely not going to happen.

Regular readers know how much I like Mikey, but more and more he reminds me of Patrick Roberts, whose biggest problem, for a long time, was that he was capable of great things but clung on too long to his ambition of playing for Manchester City instead of realising that it wasn’t going to happen and moving on.

Had he signed for us, he’d have long ago become the footballer he now looks like he’s growing into at Sunderland.

But clinging to a dream which is increasingly sour is not good for any footballer, and if Mikey is coming to the realisation that his time at the club might be coming to an end perhaps that’s what he needs and perhaps that is what Celtic needs too.

I will be sad and disappointed, because I like him and I want our academy to produce good players and I want to see those players in the team.

But if it’s time then it’s time … and when Mikey himself is starting to think that it might be the writing is on the wall.

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  • Johnno says:

    Again James this is a massive challenge for Rodgers to undertake and find solutions to for within the club?
    Yes, we all want better campaigns especially at CL level.
    Yet we still can’t fulfil the squad requirements that’s needed within a rigged tournament that only is fit for purpose, for the cash rich clubs with a far better structure in place that allows for development to actually take place.
    When you look at the Mikey Johnson situation, he’s possibly the best example of showing just how the current situation fails to work within Scottish football?
    When you look at how a CL squad was constructed with 25 players, of which 8 had to be Scottish, in what i believe Rodgers was looking at in a 4231 formation.
    Then Rodgers was looking at Johnson, Welsh and forrest to make up the numbers, with allowing an extra midfielder by only going with 2 keepers.
    Yet that changed with the injuries at CB, and changed again with Scales having to go into the position and taken his opportunity fantastically well.
    Even the formation has changed also with going back to the 433 and looking far better team in doing so also imo?
    So now currently if everyone is fit and available we are looking at potentially Maeda, Palma, forrest then Johnson as options upon our left.
    On the right, Abada, Yang,Forrest all before vata comes into the equation, and without any knowledge as of yet about what Tilo might have to offer and where he might actually fit in?
    Yet many would still regard Vata as a potential replacement for both Johnson and forrest, even if no real place for any of them available within an SPFL match day squad, unless injuries allow for, and we would have to be in a drastic situation if that was to ever become the case also?
    So what is the answer to a situation currently where we are currently operating at a situation where our squad is stronger at SPFL level with more options available, than what we could have at CL level?
    So yes keep buying player’s without any foresight of where they will actually fit into a picture that involves SPFL and CL especially at this time of the season?
    Or is Johnson still a so called project player?
    A ridiculous term to be used within the club with the amount of time spent within it, and still deemed not good enough to take the position or even to get close to what these so called project signings can offer?
    And Johnson doesn’t even stand alone, upon the current situation that tends to go unnoticed, and yet to hear of anyone giving the solutions to the problems we face as a club.
    Short sightedness upon our behalf, yet Rodgers has to try and find the solutions, while we remain upon board bashing because thing’s are currently not to our liking?
    There is still a few positions that can be strengthened upon within the squad imo, but where are the replacements for Johnson and Turnbull and Vata if
    they decide to move on?
    So we can continue to moan about the current situation as much as we like, but don’t know what the solution is either to the existing problem?
    Only really hope squad sizes can be increased within CL football to improve our chances, especially when injuries have such a massive impact upon club’s that haven’t got any form of development programme in place either?
    I fail to understand how player’s can develop properly when no real match day experience on offer to them, and only the have to hit the ground running from the off, or classed as a project or waste of money and a flop if it shouldn’t happen because a time process can’t be applied either?
    Ange for all his great work achieved, still ran away from the existing problems, and will give Rodgers great credit for attempting to address the issues and all without any simple solutions to either?

  • Ronno says:

    I like the lad myself to be fair but to be fair to him it’s only right that Rodgers plays fair and does the right thing for the boy himself to be fair.

    If I was him I’d make the jump to be fair, though what that jumps is is hard to describe for someone on the outside looking in, or even someone on the inside looking out to be fair, though I’ll always remember when the Celtic players were asked who was the best okayer in the squad and they unanimously voted for Mikey, which I thought was very fair of them, though some I hear voted for themselves which I thought was terribly unfair to be fair to Mikey given his then role as an active playmaker albeit off the wing to be fair.

    Personally I’d prefer to have a million wingers than one goalkeeper but to be fair to Brendan he hadn’t much choice in any of the signings the club seems to have been making even way back then the mast gone to be fair though Patrick Shved and William Roberts were good enough players in their own time and at that period to be fair, though I’d rather have players who want to play for the team rather than just their own glory and to be fair to Michael he has a talent that somehow hasn’t quite developed and maybe Jason Robards should be his guiding light?

    I’m only asking as todays game seems to be so far away from the game we grew up watching and playing though to be fair to the players they must have enough on their plate with all these computer games and women and all these other things this terrible internet has brought us to distract them from the task at hand which is to be the best and finest footballer they can possibly be to be fair to them.

    If I was footballer now my knees would be killing me with all that running about they have to do but back in my day we’d have either ten, fifteen or twenty thirty a side and no one ever complained, apart from our mothers when we didn’t come home for our dinner as a game that needed twenty one goals for te winner could last all night to be fair, but we did all we could to make the side strong and play for each other for free and with none of this cheating and diving and rolling around business you see in the modern game today though that was likely because we were playing on solid tarmac or concrete and cars would be driving up and down the street and we’d have to stay on our feet just to make sure we weren’t knocked down to be fair.

    Still I’d rather see the young man seize his moment like young Turnbull has and make it happen for himself at ourselves as it’s always good to see one of our own break through and stay there and make the place their own even though we might have a million wingers and another million trying to steal the slot from under them to be fair to everyone if them seizing the challenge and doing all they could to be honest.

    I’m ageing now but I’m still baffled if not perplexed as to why Brendan Rodgers was raging at how many singers Peter Lawwell signed behind his back the last time yet he’s back there now under what seems like the same deal again still with a million wingers but no quality left back or goalkeeper or proper defensive midfielder though that might just be a financial issue ti be fair.

    Still I’d rather see a million singers take European sides aoart rather than a lame footed goalkeeper though to be fair to big Joe he’s a fine outstanding influence throughout the clib but the question is why don’t have a goalkeeper in the prime if his life still while even the smelly men scriis the city have a genuine contender keeping the sticks for them though they’ll probably sell him in January to keep their boat afloat to be fair though I’d never say never again if we had an active imaginative and Willy boy like that holding our line to be honest still

    But I’m only an old man with a cat and earache so what could I teach Brendan Rodgers or the self serving shady businessmen running our club to be fair, though I could teach them this, that we ourselves will never crack Europe with pups and projects we hope to sell to the highest bidder the minute they’ve been de ekooed enough to play for us and make that difference to ourselves as it were.

  • Ronno says:

    Not Jason Robards, Jason Roberts!

  • Ronno says:

    Patrick Roberts

  • Ronno says:

    James, you can print all these posts as I don’t mind folk laughing at my mistakes as I laugh at the myself and anyway I like the company even if they are confused with my Repetitive Stress Disorder as I’ve had or for years and we’re alright still.

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