After regaining fitness and returning to goal at Celtic, MIKEY JOHNSTON is determined to put a wretched 2020 behind him.
Since sustaining a knee injury against St Johnstone last year, the 21-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Parkhead, spent nearly a full year on the sidelines.
In his side’s 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock last month, the Scotland youth international made his long-awaited first-team comeback and admits his long absence from Neil Lennon’s matchday squad was often hard to bear.
He told CelticTV, “It makes me so happy to be on the pitch and it was difficult to be out for so long, of course.”
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“It took a lot of hard work to get back to where I am now, so I’m just glad to be back with the boys on the pitch.
It can be frustrating, especially in games where we’ve been struggling a bit lately.
“We weren’t even allowed to go to the games for some weeks because of the Covid issue. That was rough – we had to watch the games from the couch at home.
“It was tough, but I’m just glad to be back.”
On his return to the first team, Johnston has only been on the bench and while the winger made a strong impression in Celtic’s victory over Hearts in the late Scottish Cup final last season, comfortably scoring from 12 yards in the penalty shootout, the attacker admits a miss would have plagued him for years to come.
“I thought it would be a good way to get revenge after a long break,”I thought it would be a good way to get revenge after a long break.
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“It would have been something I would probably have regretted for the rest of my life. To score a penalty in the Scottish Cup final – I’m just thrilled to have done it.”
Johnston added that at the winter training camp in Dubai, he and his teammates were put through their paces and emphasized that the loss to Rangers in their last league game did little to dampen morale.
“They were tough and the heat definitely makes it tougher,” Johnston said of the training camp. “But the sessions have been good – good, competitive and the guys have worked really hard.
“Obviously the loss to Ibrox was a tough one for us, but everyone is out here with a good attitude and we’re working hard every day.”