Celtic star avoided 'ugly' situation against Rangers as surgery fear came into play

Lundstram challenge could have caused significant damage, says Canadian defender

Celtic full-back Alistair Johnston was told he was lucky to avoid an “ugly” injury following John Lundstram’s red card challenge.

The Rangers midfielder was sent off for sliding in and catching Johnston full on with his studs high up the ankle in Celtic’s 2-1 derby win on Saturday. The Canada international played on after receiving treatment but had to go off later in the match after pulling up again. However, Johnston has been passed fit for Wednesday’s cinch Premiership clash with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

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“I feel all right,” the 25-year-old said. “It was a bit swollen but structurally it was OK, which was the most important thing. I’m happy with how it ended up being. I got a bit lucky in the end but I’m happy with how it is right now. I was worried, just with the fact that it was the ankle I had surgery on 12 months ago. But I knew it wasn’t as bad as that previous one. The doctor looked at it and they did all the tests afterwards and they were happy with how it looked structurally. But they kept telling me I got a little lucky – that if it had been weight-bearing it could potentially have been a pretty ugly one.”

Rangers John Lundstram is sent off for a foul on Celtic’s Alistair Johnston.Rangers John Lundstram is sent off for a foul on Celtic’s Alistair Johnston.
Rangers John Lundstram is sent off for a foul on Celtic’s Alistair Johnston.

Lundstram was initially shown a yellow card before referee Willie Collum upgraded the punishment following a VAR review. Former Rangers and Celtic striker Kenny Miller felt VAR should not have got involved but the pundit’s was a lone voice of criticism of the match officials. When asked whether there was any doubt about the sending-off in his mind, Johnston said: “I mean I guess I could see in live time, maybe if he won the ball. But I think once you slow it down and see what happened, it’s a pretty clear and obvious one. I don’t think there’s too much debate about that. I don’t think even he would have any gripes about the decision being a red.”



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