Canadian fullback Alistair Johnston has joined Glasgow’s Celtic FC on a five-year deal after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Johnston from Aurora, Ontario joined the Scottish Premiership league leaders via a transfer from Major League Soccer side CF Montréal.
“It’s such a big club, it’s a worldwide brand, and everyone knows Celtic,” said Alistair Johnston of one of the club with one of the most passionate fan bases in the world. “It’s that pressure you want as a top footballer. You want to play at the highest level possible, you want to play in the biggest matches and you want to play in front of 60,000 fans every weekend.”
Johnston played every minute of the group stage for Canada at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. He is a Men’s National Team record holder having played in 31 consecutive international “A” matches and has led Canada in minutes played in each of the past two international seasons. He co-led all Canadians in MLS appearances in 2022 as CF Montréal set a club record for wins and points.
“I love a tackle, I love to hit the diagonals (and) I am a fairly physical player,” said Johnston after joining Celtic FC. “I love covering ground, getting up and down the field and that’s what I did in club football at Montréal.”
Celtic FC are the current league leaders in the Scottish Premiership after 15 matches with a nine-point lead in the standings. They’ve won 10 of the past 11 Scottish titles and took part in the 2022-23 edition of UEFA Champions League before their elimination in the group phase.
“For every single footballer, you want it to be the perfect fit and you want to go somewhere where not only that you feel that you are part of something, you feel that you are wanted, but at the same time it is also a good sporting fit,” said Johnston to Celtic FC. “Based on what (manager Ange Postecoglou) said he is looking to do with this club for the next couple of years, it felt like a perfect fit (because) he is looking for young, driven players who want to take that next step and compete at the highest level, compete in the top stages of Europe. For me that was something that just called out to me and it felt right.”
Johnston was born in North Vancouver, but grew up in Aurora after a brief stop in Montréal. He played his youth football at Lakeshore SC, Aurora YSC, Richmond Hill SC, ANB Futbol and Vaughan SC. After playing for Wake Forest University and Vaughan SC in League1 Ontario, he made his Major League Soccer debut on 29 February 2020 with Nashville SC. He was the runner up for Canada Soccer’s Youth Player of the Year in 2020 and joined CF Montréal in 2022.
Johnston is one of six Canadians in the 2022-23 Scottish Premiership alongside Scott Arfield of Glasgow Rangers FC, both Theo Bair and David Wotherspoon of St. Johnstone FC, and both Victor Loturi and Ben Paton of Ross County FC.