Mikey Johnston Shining On Loan at West Brom

Celtic allowed a plethora of players to head out on loan during the January transfer windows, with playing time proving to be too hard to come by given Celtic’s incredibly bloated squad.

Whether it be a case of too many quality players sitting above them in the pecking order, or just a failure to make an impact when opportunities were afforded, Celtic had to get some players off the books, and one of those players was Mikey Johnston.

Mikey Johnston had seen far more opportunities than many supporters would have expected him to have this season due to a number of high-profile injuries, with Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda both having prolonged spells on the sidelines.

Whilst he may have shown flashes, those flashes were few and far between, and supporters’ patience had already worn thin with a player who could often prove to be so frustrating and indecisive in the final third.

His loan move came on deadline day as he secured a switch to West Bromwich Albion, the Baggies currently sitting in the play-offs after a positive run of form since Mikey Johnston’s arrival.

His exploits for the Irish national team meant that he would always have received a decent loan move in January, but he has more than impressed since moving to the West Midlands in January>

How Good Has He Been?
Mikey Johnston arrived at West Brom with no option-to-buy, indicating that the loan move was a way to get the 24-year-old some more game time, and the attacker impressed in the early stages with a positive cameo from the bench on his debut against Birmingham City.

He appeared from the bench again in a draw with title hopefuls Ipswich Town, and was afforded his first start for the Baggies against former teammates Nat Phillips, David Turnbull and Cardiff City. He grabbed a goal a minute into his first start for the club in a 2-0 victory, earning him further opportunities from the start in a 2-0 loss to high-flying Southampton.

Against Plymouth, Johnston was back on the bench but when called upon, he scored an outstanding goal as he breezed past his marker before firing into the far corner, ensuring his side returned to winning ways with a 3-0 win.

He continued to wreak havoc for opposition backlines in the following few fixtures, starting in a 1-1 draw with Hull City and then returning to the scoresheet in the following fixture against last season’s play-off finalists Coventry City as he nutmegged a defender before rifling past the keeper.

He continues to impress at the Baggies, but no option-to-buy included in the deal means that his future in the summer is still up in the air.

When quizzed on why he had to leave Celtic in January, Johnston’s reasoning was that he just wasn’t getting the minutes he was looking for at Celtic.

A youth academy product who has featured for the clubs at all levels, Johnston is shining away from Lennoxtown, and a move away from the pressures of Parkhead may be exactly what he needs to play his best football and fulfil his potential.

James McKenzie // @JamesWHMcKenzie

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