Canada may be out of the World Cup after losing 1-0 to Belgium and 4-1 to Canada, but there’s some good news for defender Alistair Johnston of CF Montreal, who is on the verge of joining Scottish side Celtic.
According to Fabrizio Romano, “Celtic have reached verbal agreement with Montreal to sign Alistair Johnston on permanent deal, now waiting for final details. Johnston’s contract will be discussed in order to get the deal done and sealed.”
Johnston was born in Vancouver and played for various clubs in his youth, including Lakeshore SC, Aurora FC, Richmond Hill SC, ANB Futbol and Vaughan Azzurri.
He then attended St. John’s University in New York City where he played for St. John’s Red Storm before switching to Wake Forest University. It was at Wake Forest where he was converted from a central midfielder to a right-back.
Whilst at University he also played for Vaughan Azzurri but he was then drafted to MLS where he joined Nashville SC. His first season at the club was a frustrating one due to the Covid pandemic, his side could not compete in the MLS is Back Tournament. However, things got better, and he went on to play 49 times in total for Nashville, helping them make the playoffs in 2020.
His current club CF Montreal then came knocking and signed him for £800,000. He has now played 39 times for Montreal, scoring four times and creating four assists. The Canadian side finished second in the Eastern Conference this year but lost to NYCFC in the MLS Cup Conference semi-finals.
Johnston has 31 caps for Canada and is currently with them in Qatar for the World Cup. He played in both of their group stage games so far.
Would Celtic be a good fit?
Celtic are looking for a replacement for Josip Juranovic, who has been linked with a move away from the club. Scotland should be a good fit for Johnston, who grew up in Canada and also played ice hockey as a boy. Postecoglou’s side is currently at top of the Scottish Premiership, having won their last nine games they are nine points ahead of fierce rivals Rangers. However, they are out of Europe having finished bottom of their Champions League group that included Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Johnston has so far not won any trophies in his career, so a move to Celtic will put him in a great position to lift his first league title. If he makes the move he will also get a chance to play in the Champions League.
Playing in Europe is the highest level and, although the Scottish Premiership is not one of the top five leagues, moving to Scotland could also be a stepping stone for Johnston to play in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga.
But for now, his focus will be on playing in his country’s final World Cup 2022 game against Morocco on Thursday.
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