Some Celtic supporters are difficult to please. The expletives bellowed from behind my damp head at Hampden Park on Saturday had to be heard to be believed. They were aimed at Mikey Johnston, the (just turned) 20-year-old, who earned himself an invite for our treble treble-winning party virtue of a match-winning performance on trophy day a week earlier.
In 32 years of supporting Celtic, I’ve never shouted down a fellow fan, but I felt like doing it during the Scottish Cup final after a promising attack broke down at the feet of the skilful Johnston. This was followed up with venomous abuse and a demand for Neil Lennon to, “Get him aff!”
Mikey Johnston wasn’t even born when Celtic ‘stopped the ten,’ yet he could be a mainstay of the side who win it in two years’ time. What he has achieved this season is remarkable, and to overcome the disappointments of two Ibrox defeats to become a first pick for the most historic game in modern Celtic history should be applauded.
He is living every young Celtic fans’ dream, and is part of what seems certain to be a very promising crop of youths rising to the top at Celtic Park.
The composure that these young men display belies their tender years and the intense levels of pressure they are under should never be underestimated.
“Call that entertainment? We had brass bands in our day,” remarked the impeccably-dressed older gent to my left whilst being subjected to the sight of two guys running around the Hampden pitch at half-time.
Maybe the mouthpiece behind me should have been forced to show 50,000 fans his skills in the pouring rain instead? I wonder how he would have fared with grown men, frothing at the mouth, systematically dismantling his performance for 15 minutes?
Let me tell you, it is not as easy as it looks…
Thanks to Magners, I was given an opportunity to play at Celtic Park at the beginning of May as part of their ‘Goals for Good’ fundraiser for the Celtic FC Foundation.
Watch the following video to hear how I got on:
Paul John DykesListen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast