Celtic hero explains Brendan Rodgers' controversial decision

Celtic v Rangers - Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Celtic v Rangers - Scottish Cup Semi-Final / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Brendan Rodgers' first spell as Celtic manager was a grand success. Someone at the centre of that was club captain, Scott Brown. Are the Hoops missing someone like him on the pitch right now? It certainly feels like so. The Northern Irishman's return to Parkhead has not gone as smoothly as hoped so far.

It had looked like Celtic were going to cruise their way to the Premiership title even a few months back. But the Hoops have slipped up on more than one occasion since then and allowed the Rangers to get back into the title race.

It is quite clear that some of Celtic's players need to step their game up. One such player is Mikey Johnston and Rodgers has talked about the Republic of Ireland international openly in recent weeks.

There are many fans who have not agreed with Rodgers' decision. On the other hand, Brown has given his take on the matter.

Celtic hero explains Rodgers' controversial decision

As reported by 67 Hail Hail, Brown told Sky Sports Football (10/12/23 at 11:35 am):

"I think Brendan is trying to challenge him publicly.

“To show that Mikey has it to come back in and to show these Celtic fans that he can do it.

“It’s a hard thing to do consistently, especially when people think you are just a bench player, you come on for 15-20 minutes and now he has to do it for 90 minutes by showing that he deserves the jersey.

“You look at Maeda, they press, run in behind, they score goals and create chances. Maybe Mikey isn’t doing as much as they would do, at this moment in time. But that’s the level he has set. You have James Forrest there, who is just waiting in line as well.

“As a player, Mikey has got everything. Technically, he is unbelievable. His sharpness. The only thing he needs to work on is defensively. That is a huge part of Brendan’s games. Structure behind the ball. The shape and discipline of the team."

Johnston has always been considered one of Celtic's most talented youngsters. When he came through the youth ranks and took his first steps at the senior level, the expectation was for him to develop into a starter and eventually a 20-goal-a-season winger.

None of that has happened so far. And if things do not improve quickly, he might not get the chance to make those things happen at Parkhead.

Johnston is running out of time when it comes to his Celtic career. He has gotten some chances in recent weeks, largely due to the injury problems that the Hoops right now. But the Republic of Ireland international has not really made the most of the chances he has been given and let's see if he will get many more.