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Celtic manager says Canada's Johnston could be back in week to 10 days

Alistair Johnston Celtic Alistair Johnston - The Canadian Press

Glasgow Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says Canadian international fullback Alistair Johnston could be back by the end of the month.

Johnston was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering a head injury in Celtic's 2-1 win Feb. 7 at Hibernian. Johnston was hurt early on in a clash of heads with Hibs' Australian defender Nectarios Triantis as both players went for a ball in the air. The play resulted in a penalty for Celtic.

The initial fear was Johnston had suffered a "slight fracture."

"Still not available but we're hopeful that over the next week to 10 days he could be back in," Rodgers said in his pre-match news conference this week. "So we're just assessing that as we go along. But he's doing work out on the pitch so he's still keeping up his fitness, But the contact, we just have to be mindful of."

Rodgers said Johnston would not require a mask to return but could wear one, adding "we'll assess his level of confidence out on the field."

Celtic had to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting Kilmarnock on Saturday after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer via a David Watson header.

Rival Rangers moved two points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a 3-0 win at St Johnstone.

Johnston joined the Scottish powerhouse in December 2022 from CF Montreal.

The 25-year-old Johnston, who was born in Vancouver but grew up in Aurora, Ont., has won 39 caps for Canada and been a fixture for both club and country.

Canada's next game is March 23 in Frisco, Texas, where the 50th-ranked Canadians will face No. 96 Trinidad and Tobago in a Copa America playoff.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2024