Football / Celtic FC
MIKEY Johnston started his first European game last week when Celtic took on FK Suduva in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League play-off.
And the teenager couldn’t have asked for a better start to the match as, after just three minutes, he showed great trickery on the left-hand side of the area and floated a pinpoint cross into the box which was headed home by Olivier Ntcham.
It was a perfect start for the Hoops but, unfortunately, they weren’t able to go on and capitalise on the early away goal, instead allowing the home side back into the match, Suduva equalising on 13 minutes through Ovidijus Verbickas.
There was to be no further scoring in the game, and although there was frustration within Celtic’s ranks that they didn’t go on and win on the night, the players are confident that they will complete the job tonight and ensure that they’re in Friday’s draw for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Johnston would be delighted to be involved again tonight, and whether that’s from the start or coming off the bench, he’ll be ready to play his part.
And having enjoyed the experience of his first European start for Celtic, albeit without the victory to go with it, the 19-year-old is determined to try and do everything he can to ensure further such experiences in the future.
“It was amazing,” said Johnston of the game in Lithuania. “It was a great experience, and playing with top players is unbelievable.
“I’m really grateful to the manager for the opportunity, and the fact that he trusts me to put me in the squad gives me a lot of confidence. He’s improved me a lot as a player and gave me my opportunity, so I’m really happy with how it’s going.”
As for tonight’s game against FK Suduva, Mikey Johnston knows that it will be a tough test, but it’s one that he’s confident the Hoops will pass.
“Everyone knows how important the game is,” he said. “We’ve done half the job so we just want to go out and finish it off.
“They’re a good side, and we are not going to show them any disrespect. It’s a European game and everyone’s good in Europe, so we’ll have to be at our best tonight to get the win.”