'Proud' - Celtic man urges team to 'go again' despite Copa America heartbreak

The Celtic defender enjoyed a historic month despite his dream of Copa America glory being dashed by Lionel Messi last night.

Celtic defender Alistair Johnston has called on his Canada team mates to “go again” after their hopes of Copa America glory were dashed by Lionel Messi and Argentina in New Jersey last night.

Goals from Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez and Messi’s first goal at the tournament sealed a 2-0 win for the world champions as they progressed to Sunday’s Copa America final ahead of Johnston and co. The Hoops defender admitted the defeat was a tough one to take but refused to let it dampen his spirits following a historic tournament for the Canucks.

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“It’s the best team in the world (Argentina),” said Johnston, speaking to TSN. “It’s been producing players that have gone down in the pantheon of greatest of all time for a century now. So you can’t say that you’re surprised by the gap. It is frustrating because now we’re at that level where we can compete with these teams.

We created chances and I think that the most frustrating part is that if you get one of those in the first half, maybe it’s a different game. To think that you are even mad that we’re getting knocked out in the Copa America semi final by Argentina but at the same time, that’s what you want. You want to be frustrated.” Writing on his official Instagram page, the full-back added that his nation’s memorable run has left him feeling like a “proud Canadian”.

Jesse Marsh’s Canadian side were the success story of the tournament and had bulldozed their way to the final four stage in America by defeating Venezuela on penalties last weekend. However, hopes of a historic Copa America final were dashed last night in New Jersey.

Signed by Ange Postecoglou in January 2023, the 25-year-old defender has been a real success in Glasgow, winning two Scottish Premiership titles, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup in just 18 months. His form continued at the Copa America too, where he was one of Canada’s stand out players. He has started all five games at the competition and said he feels Canada are “getting so much closer” our rise has been rapid over these past couple of years.

Johnston, who is expected to re-join his Celtic team mates on their tour of the US next week, will have to chance to bounce back from the Copa America defeat almost immediately as they face Uruguay or Colombia in this weekend’s third-place playoff and the defender has called on his side to end the tournament in positive fashion, saying: “we go again on Saturday.”

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