Head to the departure lounge at Glasgow Airport this summer and you might well see one of Celtic’s players heading for pastures new.
This has been a disastrous campaign for the Bhoys and consequently, they could do with a mass clear out.
Unfortunately for the Hoops, a few players’ futures could be taken out of their hands. The likes of Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer look as though they could head to the Premier League while Ryan Christie is another to have been linked with a move south of the border.
There will, of course, be the exits of loan players heading back to their parent clubs too but one man who should also consider developing elsewhere is Mikey Johnston.
The 22-year-old broke through at Paradise a number of years ago now but he’s never made a consistent breakthrough into the first-team setup.
It’s been a difficult few years for Johnston whose lack of action has been to Celtic’s enormous success.
The Hoops won the title nine times on the trot and in the process, Johnston couldn’t find a way through.
It’s hardly surprising, though. James Forrest was a rampant force in 2019/20, scoring 16 goals and registering 22 assists. Christie also helped himself to over 30 goal involvements while Moi Elyounoussi enjoyed a productive first campaign in Scotland.
Injuries have also wreaked havoc with the young Scot’s game time. Not that Neil Lennon liked playing young players but he spent the best part of a year out with an MCL injury.
Johnston missed the climax of last season and then had to wait until December to finally get back on the field.
Despite Celtic’s plight, he still hasn’t worked his way into the side. The winger has only started twice all campaign and hasn’t played a single minute under John Kennedy. Again, fitness concerns have dealt him a troublesome blow since Lennon departed.
On his day, the young attacker is a crafty player. He scored three goals in the space of two games during the 2018/19 campaign before injuries really started to impact him.
In the process, he was hailed by boisterous pundit Chris Sutton; “Is Mikey Johnston the new Ryan Christie? Celtic’s fringe players at the start of the season coming to the fore when it counts,” he said on social media at the time.
Unfortunately, just like Christie, he should face the exit door this summer.
Johnston may be contracted until 2025 but the idea of him making it at Celtic seems incredibly far-fetched. The 5 foot 9 winger hasn’t scored for the Hoops since December 2019 and is at the age now where he should be earning regular senior minutes.
That doesn’t look like it’ll ever happen at Celtic, especially if Karamoko Dembele’s terms don’t expire until next summer.
They need to prioritise the teenager’s development over someone who has spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch. Dominic McKay must do his best to find Johnston a new club, whether it be temporarily or permanently.