“I found him a bit frustrating at Celtic but he’s got unbelievable talent,” Ian Harte

Mikey Johnston needs to feel loved at Celtic because he’s a player with ‘unbelievable talent’, according to ex-Ireland left-back Ian Harte.

Mikey Johnston, West Bromwich Albion v Bristol City, EFL Sky Bet Championship, Football, The Hawthorns, Birmingham, UK – 16 March 2024. Photo Richard Bowcott/IPS/Shutterstock

Speaking exclusively to Celtic Shorts for Offshore Poker Sites, Harte said: “I found him a bit frustrating at Celtic but he’s got unbelievable talent. I’m not comparing him to Aidan McGeady, but he’s really quick, can go outside and can go inside. He’s dynamic. But for whatever reason, it’s just not worked out at Celtic.

“Obviously he’s come to England, and to be honest, he’s been a breath of fresh air. It’s been brilliant to see. Carlos Corberan makes sure that all players are fit and organised just like Marcelo Bielsa does. West Brom have had a very good season and for him to go down there and do so well, he’s put himself in the shop window.

Mikey Johnston of West Bromwich Albion scores his team’s first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City at The Hawthorns on February 13, 2024. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“If it’s not going to work out at Celtic I’m sure they’ll probably sell him on, they’ll probably try and recoup a bit of money rather than lose him for a bargain,” Harte said.

“But it’s always difficult because footballers move around quite a bit. But I think when you find somewhere you feel settled, you enjoy it and you feel loved by the fans and manager, it makes a big difference.

“That’s good man management and I think probably that’s why he’s done so well. Carlos probably said to him ‘If you lose the ball, I don’t care, but I want your reaction to be bang on and as soon as you lose it you get back in position. But be brave, take people on.’

“That’s what you need. Obviously, the higher up you go in the Premier League and give it away, you’re more likely to be punished. You need those players in that team, though, because they’re the ones that can win you games of football.

 Mikey Johnston with the ball whilst under pressure from Jimmy Dunne of Queens Park Rangers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion at Loftus Road on March 06, 2024. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

“Certain lads might need a kick in the backside or some might need a little arm around them. When Tony Mowbray was at Sunderland, he’d pull you into his office, he’d have a chat with you and talk to you for an hour.

“But it will be nothing about football. He talks about family and shows you pictures of where he lives or whatever. That’s what you need as when you cross that white line, you’re going to go out and put your body on the line, you’re going to run, you’re going to tackle and you’re going to head because you know that you have the trust and the backing of that manager.

“Every manager is different and every player is different but that’s why there’s kind of a fine line between knowing what lads need a little rocket and others need a pat on the back.”

Playing 18 games for West Brom in the English Championship this season, Mikey Johnston has scored seven goals and assisted one while on loan at the club. He returns to Celtic now that the season has ended, but the chances of things working out look slimmer by the day.

He was the brunt of a lot of criticism at the start of the season but still played nine games in the Scottish Premiership. Some supporters were pleased at his departure and with how good he has found things across the border, I don’t see him staying in the Hoops for another season.

Time will tell though, but there’s certainly a bright future for Johnston, it may just not be at Celtic. Yet what Mikey Johnston has achieved in his loan spell is to prove that at the right club and under the correct conditions he can be a top players.

Brendan Rodgers recently talked up Mikey’s prospects at Celtic but if West Brom or another Championship side come in for him then there’s business to be done. One side that was linked with an interest in him was Norwich City and Celtic are keen to bring Adam Idah back into the fold after his successful loan spell.

Maybe there’s something to be done there regarding a swap and maybe a bit of cash going to Carrow Road?

Jessica Elliott

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