Celtic player makes Lionel Messi claim before facing him

Argentina v Australia - 2023 International Football Invitation
Argentina v Australia - 2023 International Football Invitation / Lintao Zhang/GettyImages

Celtic a couple of very important months of football coming up. The entire season has built up to this. It is no secret that Brendan Rodgers' side have failed to meet expectations. But they remain in contention to win a couple of trophies. They lead the league by a point, albeit having played a game more than the Rangers. And the Hoops are in the Scottish Cup semi-finals as well.

For one Celtic player, the season will not be over after the end of the club campaign. He still has to play in the upcoming Copa America this summer.

Canada will take part in the Copa America. And Alistair Johnston's side will face Lionel Messi's Argentina in the tournament opener.

Johnston has never faced Messi before and it does seem like an occasion he is looking ahead to. One cannot forget that it is not just about taking on the greatest of all time either. Argentina are the reigning World Champions. As reported by the Daily Record, the Celtic player said:

"It’s exciting, isn’t it? We’ve got Argentina in the first game, which is great. But I’m kinda hoping Messi stays on the other side of the pitch! The tournament is in America but it will be 99 per cent full of Messi jerseys, so that’ll be fun. It’s the first game of the tournament so I think they’re expecting Messi to put on a show.

“That’s why they’ve made it the first game. And yeah, it’s my job as a defender to hopefully try and quieten that down. But we’ll be ready for 80,000 fans screaming his name.

“I’ve seen it already in the MLS, just how mental it is over there, and it’ll be no different in Atlanta. I have never played against Messi before but I have a couple of friends who have and they say it’s a joy!

“He looks like he’s just walking about on the pitch so you turn your head for a second. You lose the ball, you turn your head back and he’s gone! But that whole Argentina team are extremely talented. You don’t win a World Cup with just one player."

Celtic player makes Lionel Messi claim before facing him

Johnston was signed by Celtic from Montreal CF in early 2023 in order to replace the outgoing Josip Juranovic. Since then, he has had an up-and-down time in Glasgow.

Johnston was excellent in the half-season he played under the management of Ange Postecoglou. That has not been the case since Rodgers replaced him last summer and the Canadian right-back has faced a bit of criticism lately, even though he has managed to remain a starter for the Hoops.

He does remain a regular in the Canadian national team picture as well and if fit, you can expect him to line up against Argentina in the Copa America opener in the summer. That will be the last thing on Celtic fans' minds right now, who just want to see their side to win the league and hopefully more by the time this season draws to a close.