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We Need To Talk About Alistair Johnston

Canadian right-back Alistair Johnston has made 14 appearances for Celtic since his arrival to the club in the January transfer window, playing the full 90 minutes each time.

14 full games is a fair amount of time to give before we can judge a player I feel. We can see over that many games what we have on our hands at this present time while also getting a glimpse at his potential to improve.

We were also able to watch him perform at the World Cup, the biggest stage in football before he joined us and we have also seen him play in two derby games against ‘Rangers’ and he is about to play in his third game against them this weekend.

I wanted to give a fair amount of time before making a judgement on this, but I have to be honest, he is an upgrade on Josip Juranovic.

Yes, I know many Celtic supporters have already been of this opinion for a while now, but I wanted to give it a bit more time before I made my decision on our Canadian bhoy, because I still have a lot of respect for Juranovic and what he did for Celtic and I hope he continues to do well at Union Berlin and for Croatia.

But in Alistair Johnston, we have a better overall player, and equally as important, a much more consistent one.

Not only is he a better play at this moment in time, but he appears to be improving rapidly within this Celtic team.

His performance away to Ross County at the weekend was unbelievable. He looked like he could have played another 90 minutes right after!

His crossing is more consistent that Juranovic. His tackling is stronger. He is a much better defender. He is far better in the air and his fitness levels, strength and power are also better than the Croatian’s.

And like I said earlier he is far more consistent than Juranovic. Let’s remember last season there was actually a big debate about who our best right back was between Ralston and Juranovic and Ralston got far more game time when it was him and Juranovic competing for that right-back position, but now he can’t get a look in and only gets a game like against Hearts because Ange said him and Bernabei both needed game time.

Yes, Juranovic was and is still capable of putting in occasional man of the match displays, like in his Glasgow derby debut in the 3-0 victory at Celtic Park or against Brazil at the World Cup, but he also had several very poor performances for us, especially in the Champions League this season and his shocking display at Ibrox shortly before he left where Sakala ripped him to pieces.

And I’m not trying to bash Juranovic here, as I said earlier I still like him and have a lot of respect for him, but I have to give an honest assessment of both players.

We sold Juranovic for a fee that will most likely rise to £10m and bought his replacement for £3m and his replacement is an upgrade on what we had.

It is yet another fantastic piece of business from our manager Ange Postecoglou in the transfer window.

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