Exclusive: McNamara hails 'fantastic young talent at Celtic' who'll 'have big role next season'


Jackie McNamara has hailed Mikey Johnston as a “fantastic young talent” who can make a big impact at Celtic next season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Hoops legend claims the club might be better off developing the academy product, 20, rather than bringing in more loanees.

Attacker Johnston played at right wing-back in Sunday’s Old Firm defeat to Rangers at Ibrox after being used at centre-forward by Brendan Rodgers in the other loss to their rivals, back in December.

McNamara explained why those experiences could prove beneficial in the long run as Johnston develops his career at the Scottish treble chasers.

“Mikey Johnston is a fantastic young talent,” he told Football Insider. “His biggest quality is his pace and he knows how to hurt teams. His final ball and strength will develop as he gets older and more experienced.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I think he looks a real prospect – can he handle the demands week in, week out? He was put into the Rangers game before the winter break, although he was playing through the middle which isn’t his position, but I thought he got kinda lost in that match but it wasn’t the right position for him.

“He has a great talent and an opportunity to go forward in the game. He will have a big role to play next season. The fact Brendan Rodgers used him from the start in an Old Firm and so did Neil Lennon shows what they think of him and the experience will stand him in good stead in the future.”

Johnston has made 25 senior appearances for Celtic, including 21 in the current campaign.

He has been capped by Scotland at Under-21 level and all the other age groups stretching back to his mid teens.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the club have made an approach to sign a left-sided flyer and he wants to join.