Celtic winger Mikey Johnston has said he is hopeful of returning from injury for the Hoops’ opening Europa League group game against Rennes next week.
The Daily Record reported that the 20-year-old will miss Saturday’s trip to Hamilton in the Premiership with a groin strain but could be back for the European assignment in France next Thursday.
Last week, the youngster was forced to pull out of the Scotland under-21 squad for their European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Croatia over injury concerns, as reported by the Daily Record, but now it seems that his layoff will be a short-term one.
Johnston has already had a couple of injury problems in the early weeks of the season, having also had a knee injury in recent weeks, as per the Daily Record, which added that he experienced muscle and thigh problems earlier in his Celtic career.
However, despite that knee injury in August and despite picking up a knock in the recent win at Rangers, as per the Daily Record, the left winger has still featured in 10 of Celtic’s first 13 matches of the season.
Johnston has become a increasingly important presence in the Hoops’ line-up this season, having already had 701 minutes of gametime in 2019/20.
In the whole of last season, he played for 1,063 minutes and made 23 appearances, in which he scored five goals and provided just one assist. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
And, he’s scored three goals and provided four assists in the current campaign in all competitions.
His emergence in this campaign has seen fellow left winger and previous Celtic Player of the Year Scott Sinclair going from scoring 17 goals in 55 appearances across 3,484 minutes last season to just one goal in four substitute appearances totalling 56 minutes so far in 2019/20.
Lewis Morgan, another left midfield player in Neil Lennon’s squad, has had 10 appearances this season and 437 minutes of gametime, scoring just one and setting up two goals. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
Johnston’s absence against Hamilton could see Sinclair come in for his first appearance since the 5-2 win at Motherwell on August 10th, which was also the last match that Morgan started.
Alternatively, recent loan signing Mohamed Elyounoussi could be given his Celtic debut, although he recorded zero goal involvements in 19 games for Southampton last term.
If Johnston’s hopes are realised and he returns to match fitness for the Rennes game next week, he looks a near-certainly to come back into the team, unless one of Celtic’s other left wingers can seize their opportunity at Hamilton on Saturday.
Celtic fans, how important do you think Johnson has become to this team? Who would you like to see starting instead of him against Hamilton? Let us know your views in the comments section below!
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