Date: 6th July 2019 at 7:07pm
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EXCLUSIVE

Jackie McNamara has tipped Mikey Johnston to establish himself among the starting XI at Celtic next season after impressing in the club’s pre-season games.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Parkhead and Scotland ace claims that the 20-year-old’s rivals for a regular spot under Neil Lennon, including Scott Sinclair and James Forrest, have got to be at their best to keep the young gun out the side.

Johnston has been impressing for the Bhoys during their warm-up games, having started against SC Pinkafield, Wiener FC and St Gallen, with the Hoops’ next outing their Champions League qualifier against FK Sarajevo.

McNamara says Johnston’s bright performances are putting more experienced figures under pressure at Parkhead and that he expects big things from the young ace heading into the new campaign.

Asked if Johnston could establish himself as a regular in the starting XI, McNamara said: “If he’s performing, definitely. I think Neil will be looking for that. If the lad can push at a real consistent level, especially in the big games, then I think he’ll feature, definitely.

“They (Johnston’s rivals) have to worry, they have to perform. It makes Neil’s job better because they’re performing at a good level. The competition’s strong, the team’s strong. It’s not about keeping the players happy, it’s about keeping the fans happy and the manager happy by winning.

To date Johnston has 27 first team appearances for the Hoops under his belt, 23 of those coming last season, while he has struck home five goals.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the Hoops are in talks over signing a proven Premier League talent.