Celtic winger Mikey Johnston has not travelled with the Hoops’ squad for tonight’s Europa League match against Lazio in Rome.
The club’s official Twitter channel @CelticFC shared press conference quotes from manager Neil Lennon confirming that the 20-year-old is not among the travelling party.
Lennon added that Tom Rogic, Boli Bolingoli and Leigh Griffiths were also among those who remained in Scotland instead of flying out to Italy for the match. [via @CelticFC]
Johnston started the season very brightly for Celtic but has been ravaged by injury over the last two months.
He was a regular starter across the first couple of months of the campaign, being selected for several Champions League qualifiers, both legs of the Europa League play-off against AIK and the derby win at Rangers at the start of September. [via TransferMarkt]
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That groin problem was initially expected to keep him out for three weeks, but Johnston did not come back into contention until being named on the bench for last Saturday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibernian.
Lennon admitted last month that he was concerned over the length of the youngster’s convalescence, as per The Scottish Sun, and the 20-year-old’s loss has very much been Mohamed Elyounoussi’s gain.
The on-loan Norwegian has made the left-wing berth his own since his Celtic debut against Hamilton in mid-September and has been in scintillating form, with six goals in his last five matches coming into tonight’s game against Lazio.
Johnston would probably have had to be content with a place on the bench tonight had he travelled, but it’s bound to be frustrating to miss out on the trip having just come back into the matchday fold last weekend after two months out.
Even when the 20-year-old is fully fit to return, he will almost certainly have to play backup to Elyounoussi unless the Norway man has an injury of his own or suffers a drastic loss of form.
A season which begun so promisingly for Johnston now looks like being one where his progression stalls, with Elyounoussi more than seizing his opportunity in the young Scottish winger’s injury-enforced absence.
Celtic fans, do you think Johnston could still have a significant part to play this season or will he struggle for game-time given Elyounoussi’s outstanding form? Have your say by commenting below!
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