Celtic managed to navigate the last test before the Glasgow Derby without any mistakes, winning 3-0 against Dundee FC away at Dens Park. Not only will the three goals boost the confidence of Brendan Rodgers' side but the cleansheet should too. That being said, they will be the underdogs at the weekend, when you take recent results and performances into account.
There were unexpected goalscorers for Celtic against Dundee FC. Paulo Bernardo got his first for the club. But it was Mikey Johnston who grabbed the headlines, scoring a brace despite coming on in the 79th minute.
Johnston has been heavily criticsed for his uninspiring performances in recent times. But on this occasion, he certainly earned the praise of the fans and that of the manager as well.
Rodgers seemed to be pleased for Johnston, who has been playing a decent bit of football lately. As reported by The Scotsman, the Celtic manager said:
"The challenge for Mikey was the fact that he had played a lot of games back to back, and he hasn’t done that much for Celtic.
“The intensity, demand and expectation can become difficult, but he can certainly come off the bench and make an impact.
“It can give him confidence. The beauty with Mikey is that he’s stayed fit. It’s up to him whether he’s going to be a Celtic player, but we keep working with him and we feel he can come into the game and make an impact. We were really pleased for him to get the two goals."
Rodgers praises much-criticised Celtic player
With Daizen Maeda back to fitness, Luis Palma rediscovering his form in the last two games and Liel Abada close to a return, minutes are expected to be harder to come by for Johnston moving forward. But he certainly helped his future chances with a timely brace.
Now, it remains to be seen if he can build on this good performance and go on a good run of form. For the time being, he should expect to get chances as an impact substitute and he needs to make the most of them.
Johnston showed so much promise in his early career but things went off the track following a series of injuries. Could the Republic of Ireland international still end up reaching his potential? Time shall tell. It is always good to see a youth academy graduate do well though.