Mikey Johnston was Celtic’s highest-rated player while playing through the youth ranks. Many people thought he was destined to be a first-team superstar and he backed that up as well by getting off to a great start in the senior team. However, things haven’t gone his way in recent years.
Johnston has dealt with one injury after another in recent years, to the point where he has become a first-team afterthought. His confidence seemed to have suffered as well, and he struggled to perform at the level he was used to, even as a teenager.
So a loan move seemed like the right path for him this season, with first-team chances looking slim, and he was sent to Portuguese club, Vitoria Guimaraes. And there, he already seems to impress people.
As reported by Record (via 67 Hail Hail), Vitoria Guimaraes assistant coach Joao Aroso said of Johnston:
“As for Mikey, he’s a quality player, strong in one-on-ones, with many years at Celtic. He showed that in a tough game. It’s not the easiest game for a player, but he is used to strong environments.
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Johnston made his debut for Vitoria Guimaraes coming on at half-time for the Portuguese club in their game against Santa Clara, when the scores were tied 0-0.
The change also seemed to have an immediate impact on the team, as they managed to score in the 48th minute of the game and then held on to that lead to claim a 1-0 victory.
So, it was a solid introduction to Portuguese football for Johnston and he hopes he can soon earn a place in the first team at Vitoria Guimaraes. But the most important thing for him is not to hurt himself.
The fact that Celtic sent him out on loan and didn’t try to move him on a permanent basis only goes to show that the club still haven’t given up on Johnston. Now it remains to be seen if he is able to regain his form.