Deadline day may now be upon us but one man that remains at Celtic is academy graduate Mikey Johnston, with the 23-year-old yet to secure an exit from Parkhead despite falling out of favour under manager Ange Postecoglou.
The title-winning coach has already acted ruthlessly of late to part ways with a handful of reminders of the previous regime in Vasilis Barkas, Christopher Jullien and Albian Ajeti, with the latter man only recently joining Austrian outfit Sturm Graz on loan with an option to buy.
Although in the case of Johnston it would likely be a temporary exit – amid reports of a potential move to Ronny Deila’s Standard Liege side – the fact he is having to find a new home in the short-term represents his notable fall from grace, five years on from having made his senior debut.
A player once tipped to be the “new Ryan Christie” by pundit Chris Sutton, the Glasgow-born starlet had enjoyed a promising start to life in the first team, notably scoring five goals in just 23 games in all competitions in what was a breakthrough 2018/19 campaign.
Since then, however, the former Scotland U21 international has failed to kick on for the Old Firm giants, with his total tally only at 79 appearances across all fronts, scoring 11 goals and providing ten assists in that time.
The £7.9k-per-week dud – who has been plagued by injury in recent seasons – is yet to feature so far this term with Postecoglou keen to see him earn regular game time out on loan, having been on the fringes during the title triumph last term.
The winger made just 20 appearances across all competitions in the 2021/22 campaign – only five of which came from the start – failing to score and registering just a single assist as he failed to truly win over the new manager.
Although lauded as an “incredibly talented player” by teammate Joe Hart, the versatile forward has slipped down the pecking order following the influx of attacking talent in recent times, with the latest addition of Sead Haksabanovic only set further impact his chances of game-time.
As pundit Frank McAvennie noted even prior to the Montenegro international’s recent arrival, Johnston is simply “just not going to play” this season with so many other options at the manager’s disposal.
In truth, at 23, it could well be that the chance of a regular role with the Scottish champions has now come and gone, with the player himself potentially having to face up to the fact that he may well not be good enough.
A departure before the end of the window is no doubt needed for all concerned, with it only set to prove another season wasted on the bench if he is unable, or unwilling, to secure a move away.