The Celtic support have been growing increasingly frustrated at the recent performances of Mikey Johnston.
This is particularly visible just by looking at social media, constant negative comments about him starting games or his performances. It is ok to criticise a player, no player is above this if they aren’t meeting standards, but some of the abuse has been absolutely disgraceful and totally out of order. This is a young lad who has come through the ranks and made it into the first team through hard work and dedication. One of our own. And he is being treated like an absolute imposter by a lot of our support.
The 22 year old’s time since breaking into the first team has definitely been up and down. He has put in some fantastic performances for us and scoring some import goals for us along the way. But he has been hampered a lot by injury so because of this, even when he hit form, he was never able to have an extended run in the team as he’d regularly be relegated to the sidelines.
I had been saying for a while that I felt Johnston had to bulk up a bit and add some strength as he was constantly getting shrugged off the ball when running forward in possession. He certainly looked like he had worked on this when he came back into the team recently, he looked sturdier and was able to protect the ball better, so I was pleased to see he was making an improvement in this area.
However, his performances overall in recent weeks have not been up to standard. Especially when we compare him to Jota, who is currently operating at a much higher level.
In fairness I thought he played fairly well at the weekend there against Dundee Utd, he wasn’t outstanding, but by no means did he have a bad game. But the two or three games prior to that he was giving the ball away or not getting by his man and every time this was met by loud groans from the Celtic Park crowd, which would dent anybody’s confidence, never mind that of a young lad who is just trying to get back into the swing of things again and get into a rhythm. If we moan and groan audibly at every mistake, it’s just going to dent his confidence even more, and his performances aren’t going to improve if supporters are constantly on his back.
Mikey Johnston may or may not be good enough to make the grade long term at Celtic. Let’s hope he can stay fit and give himself the best chance possible. But, in the meantime, let’s get behind him and give him the support he needs. In life, if you know someone struggling and going through a tough time, you support them. Why shouldn’t we do the same with our players on the field?