Celtic replacing Mikey Johnston with Husein Balic is now unthinkable

Celtic fans are seen ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Celtic and RB Salzburg at Celtic Park on December 13, 2018 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Celtic reportedly wanted St Polsten forward Husein Balic but he's not needed as long as Mikey Johnston shines for the Scottish Premiership champions.

Mikey Johnston of Celtic (73) scores his team's second goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Hearts at Celtic Park on May 19, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Just weeks ago, the Sun broke the news that Panathinaikos were keen to sign Mikey Johnston on a season-long loan from Celtic.

But, after one game of the new Scottish Premiership season, it seems unthinkable that this Glasgow-born 20-year-old will be playing anywhere other than Parkhead over the next ten months.

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Starts were few and far between for Johnston in 2018/19 but this is already shaping up to be a breakthrough campaign for Celtic’s latest homegrown hero. If his dazzling performance in Saturday’s 7-0 blitz of St Johnstone is anything to go by, that is.

 

The fleet-footed winger was thrilling throughout, dashing past challenges like a gazelle on ice skates before firing home a brilliant individual goal to give Celtic an early lead. This wasn’t even his best strike of the season – that honour went to a 25-yard scorcher against Sarajevo.

"The manager has trusted me to play so I need to take a lot of confidence from that and scoring a goal helps,” Johnston told Football Scotland.

Clearly, Neil Lennon is a big fan of the Scotland U21 star, who is developing a real eye for the spectacular at such a young age. And it is surely no coincidence that links with Austrian speed-machine Husein Balic dried up as soon as Johnston fired that long-range rocket into the Sarajevo net.

Husein Balic of Austria looks on prior to the 2019 UEFA U-21 Group B match between Austria and Germany at Stadio Friuli on June 23, 2019 in Udine, Italy.

According to the Mail, Celtic were interested in bringing in the St Polten speed-machine in a potential £700,000 deal. Balic is a left-winger by trade – the same position that Johnston is rapidly making his own.

As long as this local lad turned star continues to tie defenders in knots and leave goalkeepers grasping for air, there is no reason for Celtic to dip into the market.

Mikey Johnston of Celtic runs at James Tavernier and Joe Worrall of Rangers during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League between Celtic and at Ibrox Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Glasgow,...

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