On-loan Celtic winger Mikey Johnston could be in line for his first start for Vitória de Guimarães when they face Benfica this weekend.
The 23-year-old made a temporary move to Portugal in the summer as he sought to earn more regular playing time.
However, the Celtic academy graduate is still seen as highly regarded by Ange Postecoglou and the club, having signed a one-year extension before completing his move.
So far since signing for the top-flight Portuguese side, Johnston has made two appearances, both coming at half-time from the bench against Santa Clara and Arouca.
In his last appearance as a substitute, the winger netted Vitória de Guimarães’ first equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Arouca just before the international break.
While some of Johnston’s team-mates may be away with their country, the last week has seen the Scot spend time on the training ground developing his fitness.
After his first two appearances from the bench, the Celtic man on loan could now be in line for his first start against none other than Champions League side Benfica.
Currently, Benfica are top of the Portuguese league and their return to domestic action will be against Johnston and Vitória de Guimarães on the road this Saturday night.
While a decision on whether the Celtic academy graduate will start this weekend’s game has yet to be made, Portuguese outlet A Bola have offered the winger to make his first appearance in the Starting 11.
Writing in a recent column, Johnston was tipped to play early on due to his experience in bigger games, having featured for the Hoops against Glasgow rivals Rangers.
His two second-half performances also suggested to the outlet that he had the potential to make an impact over a longer stretch of the game.
It said [A Bola]: “Michael Johnston is taking off and could be part of Vitória’s starting line-up for their next league game against Benfica at the D. Afonso Henriques.
“The 23-year-old winger was one of the last players to join the team on the summer market, and that explains why he only has 90 minutes on the pitch, split evenly between games against Santa Clara, in which he made his debut, then against Arouca.
“In both games he used his speed to outplay defenders and create imbalances, and it looks like he has the potential to stay on the pitch longer.
“Michael Johnston has yet to spend a month in Guimaraes, but he brought with him the knowledge to face tough encounters such as those that occurred when Celtic, where he played, played against rivals Rangers or others like Aberdeen, Hibernian or Dundee.
“The possibility of Michael Johnston appearing in the starting line-up against Benfica is something Moreno Teixeira is currently working on.”
Mikey Johnston in line for huge opportunity against strong Benfica side
There’s no doubt that Mikey Johnston and his current squad will face a tough test when Benfica head to town this weekend.
The team that finished 3rd in the last Primeira Liga campaign have started the new season well, both domestically and in Europe, having beaten Juventus 2-1 in their second Champions League outing.
It would certainly be a huge opportunity for Johnston to show off his abilities on a big stage against a top team while he is in Portugal.
And there will be plenty of other opportunities too, with Vitória de Guimarães still to face Porto and Sporting CP.
Here’s hoping the winger can make his first start and build on his second-half assist against Arouca before kicking off and enjoying a solid season in Portugal.
In other news, Ex-Celtic defender set to make surprise free agent move