By Danny Wright
Brendan Rodgers was delighted with the performances of teenage duo Michael Johnston and Anthony Ralston in Celtic’s 4-1 home win against St. Johnstone on Saturday.
The two 18-year-olds were surprise inclusions in Rodgers’ starting XI, but they repaid the faith shown by their manager and stunned the Parkhead crowd with their displays.
Johnston almost began his full debut with a goal but later managed to provide an assist to Patrick Roberts’ opening strike.
The teenage winger was substituted off to a standing ovation to be replaced by Scott Sinclair, and Rodgers has drawn comparisons between the two.
“I was delighted with the two young players who made their first starts,” said the Hoops boss, as quoted by BBC Sport.
“You can see the profile of Mikey Johnston, he is very similar to Scott Sinclair – slight, fast, dynamic. With more involvement he will become a bit more prolific and incisive but he was quick and direct and most importantly worked very hard to press the play.”
Ralston was also making his full senior debut for the Hoops and completed the entire 90 minutes as regular right-back Mikael Lustig was rested.
Cristian Gamboa would usually be Rodgers’ first choice to replace the experienced Swedish international, but Ralston did a fine job according to the former Liverpool manager.
“I thought Tony [Anthony Ralston] was exceptional. You can see the maturity now in his performance; you would think he’d played 50 games already,” Rodgers added.
Roberts’ brace and goals from Dedryck Boyata and Callum McGregor mean that Celtic are one win away from reaching 100 points in the Scottish Premiership.
They are also just four games away from finishing the domestic campaign without defeat, but second-placed Aberdeen are the Hoops’ next opponents on Friday.
In other Celtic news, Rodgers has confirmed he wants to sign this 15-goal attacker.