Eddie Howe may be on the verge of becoming Celtic’s new manager but John Kennedy remains in interim charge of the Bhoys for now.
He hasn’t had the best of starts in the hot seat, winning just one of his first three games.
That being said, he has a wonderful opportunity to stake his claim for the permanent position on Saturday when they face third-tier Falkirk. Nothing more than a big win for the Hoops should be on the cards but, as this season has told us, football often doesn’t follow the script.
Celtic’s chances of going through to the next round of the Scottish Cup this weekend have been bolstered by the news that Mikey Johnston is back in first team training.
The 21-year-old hasn’t been seen under Kennedy just yet but he was snapped participating in training by the club’s photographers following a spell on the sidelines.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 1, 2021
With this news in mind, the Bhoys now have a big dilemma. It’s unlikely that Celtic will go full strength against Falkirk, so an opportunity could arise for Johnston out on the flanks.
That being said, Kennedy has a number of options from which to choose, something that leads to a hefty dilemma and selection headache. That being said, it’s a welcome headscratcher; the manager should be delighted at having so many options to use so late in the season.
James Forrest has played just 23 minutes since returning from injury and Kennedy may see this as the perfect opportunity to hand him his first start. The same can be said for Johnston, although he’ll have to usurp David Turnbull, Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi in the pecking order.
The latter returned to form in the Old Firm derby two weeks ago by netting a sensational diving header. Christie was also more promising over the international break, standing out against Austria by registering an assist for John McGinn’s phenomenal overhead kick.
Kennedy may look towards those two players as his match-winners but, at the same time, this feels like a good time to hand Johnston a rare opportunity to impress.
If he is given minutes and shines, he could well stake a claim to play during the final weeks of the campaign. After all, Celtic have nothing to play for in the league anymore; they may as well utilise their young talent.