Celtic are facing a nervous wait to discover the extent of the injury that has forced young winger Mikey Johnston out of international duty over the coming week.
The Daily Record reported that the 20-year-old has withdrawn from Scotland’s under-21 squad for their upcoming European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Croatia because of injury.
According to the Daily Record, Johnston had reported for international duty despite picking up an injury in the derby win last Sunday, but has since been sent back to his club to assess the nature of the problem.
The timing of Johnston’s injury has been unfortunate for him and Celtic, given the excellent form he has shown in the opening weeks of the season.
The 20-year-old has made 10 appearances so far in 2019/20, scoring three goals and providing four assists, including setting up Odsonne Edouard for the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Rangers on Sunday.
Only Edouard, Ryan Christie and James Forrest have been more effective in terms of goals and assists than Johnston for the Hoops so far this season. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
The left-winger‘s performances have come in for positive recognition from numerous quarters in recent weeks.
One of those is his club manager Neil Lennon, who described him as “the sort of player we like here at Celtic” and “a very integral part of our attack” after their 2-0 home win over AIK in the Europa League play-offs, as reported by Football Scotland.
Former Celtic player Chris Sutton said on BT Sport [via HITC] that Johnston is “going to be a big player for Celtic this season“, while BBC pundit Michael Stewart tweeted (via @mstewart_23) that the youngster’s attacking threat is prompting opponents to try and take him out of games.
If Johnston is missing for the Hoops’ upcoming matches, new signing Mohamed Elyounoussi could take his place on the left wing, while Lewis Morgan is another alternative. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
However, Elyounoussi failed to score or set up a goal in 19 appearances for Southampton last season, while Morgan has only a goal and two assists from 10 games so far in 2019/20.
Johnston played just 23 times for Celtic last season but has evolved into a very effective first-team regular during this campaign, restricting one-time Celtic Player of the Year Scott Sinclair to only four appearances totalling 56 minutes in 2019/20.
With no specific timeframe put on the extent of his injury, there remains hope that he could recover for the Hoops’ next match against Hamilton after the international break. If he doesn’t, the onus will be on either Elyounoussi or Morgan to match the high standards that Johnston has set of late.
Celtic fans, how big a blow would Johnston’s absence be if he was ruled out of upcoming games? Share your views in the comments section below!
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