Boost for Celtic as Johnston returns to training ahead of cup final

The Canadian defender is targeting a return to action before the end of the season.

Boost for Celtic as Alistair Johnston returns to training ahead of cup final SNS Group

Celtic could have defender Alistair Johnston available for the Scottish Cup final after he returned to training after injury.

Johnston has been sidelined after suffering a knock as Celtic defeated Rangers in the semi-final of the competition last month.

He’s now back in training after a spell of treatment and though he won’t be part of the squad to face Hibs on Wednesday, manager Ange Postecoglou says he is on track to be in the squad to play Aberdeen on Saturday and then in contention for the Hampden showpiece on June 3.

 “All things being equal, if he gets through the rest of the week’s training he should be available for the weekend’s game,” Postecoglou said.

“We will hopefully get him some game time at the weekend and assess it from there.

“He has worked really hard to get back with the cup final in mind. He has got back really well and worked hard with the medical team and looked after himself really well.

“It was good to see him training and good to see him part of it because he has obviously been a big part of the second half of the year.”

Before taking on Inverness at Hampden in their bid to complete a treble, Celtic have to complete their league fixtures. The team lost to Rangers and drew at home to St Mirren in their two games since sealing the Premiership title and while Postecoglou wants a strong build-up to the cup final, he admitted that there’s no edge to the games with their league target achieved.

“We just go out there and try to play our football but we know the league is done,” he explained.

“We can’t lose the league now, unless someone has brought in a new rule. The players are aware of that so I can’t go about pretending, trying to create some alternative universe where they are trying to achieve something they have already achieved.

“But we still want to enjoy our games and prepare for the cup final and the best way to do that is play our football and take each challenge as it comes.

“The players are training well and we want to finish the season strongly.”

Postecoglou was speaking on the day that he was named as Scottish Premiership Glen’s Manager of the Season.

“’It is great to be recognised again in this way and we thank the SPFL and sponsors [Glen’s] for this award,” he said. “It is an award which really reflects the huge collective effort of everyone at the club to deliver our second successive Premiership title.

“Once again, everyone at the club has been absolutely united and worked tirelessly all year to bring such well-deserved success to our supporters.”

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