Johnston on flying start for WBA, Celtic and his Portuguese tan

5 March 2024 0 By Total Football News

Mikey Johnston is reminiscing about life in Portugal, and the subtle differences between the Iberian Peninsula and Glasgow.

“The weather,” he tells Sky Sports with a warm glow on his face that definitely hasn’t come from being sat in a training facility in West Bromwich.

“I looked Portuguese at the end of the year, but I’m looking a bit more Scottish now, aren’t I?”

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Johnston is currently on his second loan move away from Celtic. Last year he spent the season at Vitória de Guimarães, while since January of this campaign he has been at West Brom.

Safe to say he has hit the ground running for the Baggies in the Championship. Three goals already in just four starts and seven appearances.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City.

He is loving life in the Midlands, and the fans at The Hawthorns have already started to fall in love with him.

“It’s been quite a quick start, so I’m just delighted to get off the mark, out of the doors. Getting the monkey off your back and getting a goal right away is always good, isn’t it?

“After that you can relax and settle into things.”

His new team-mates have helped, as has boss Carlos Corberan. Johnston, 24, admits that the Spaniard was one of the main lures that brought him south.

“I think when this was one of my options, I felt it was a good one anyway,” he says.

“But just speaking to the manager and hearing how much I can learn. He’s like a teacher, honestly.

“The stuff that I’ve been taught already is valuable for my career. I feel like tactically I’m learning every day.

“When he phoned me up, I knew that he was going to be the right coach for me.”

Johnston didn’t plan to go on loan again, but a lack of opportunities at Celtic forced his hand in January. He knows he needed to get away to get more minutes on the pitch.

“I wish Celtic the best for the rest of the season, but it was just a game-time thing, obviously,” he says.

“I think at the end we had eight wingers, which was always going to be tough to get the minutes that I wanted to build on last year.

“I’m getting older now and I want to progress my career. And this felt like a nice step for me.”

Johnston also has an international future in mind. He has won eight caps for the Republic of Ireland, scoring twice, and has his eyes firmly on trying to get to the next World Cup in 2026.

“I’ve loved going away with Ireland,” he says. “It’s been amazing. The boys are great there as well, and the first goals against Gibraltar meant the world to me.

“So that was a big part in me, just wanting to play regular football.

“When I’m playing, I’m happy. I think that makes a difference.”

If he keeps playing with that smile on his face, Johnston could help take West Brom to Wembley and beyond this season.

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