MONTREAL – After midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, who will display all his talent in the Dutch Championship in 2023, CF Montreal lost another key player in its 2022 edition on Saturday.
Confirming a rumor that has been circulating for some time, the club’s directors have announced that Canadian full-back Alistair Johnston has been transferred to Celtic FC, reigning Premier League champions in Scotland. In a press release, CF Montreal specifies that the transfer will be effective as of January 1, 2023.
The 24-year-old Johnston will ultimately have spent less than a year in Montreal, where he proved to be one of the most consistent players, game after game, over a season where the team established many records – team and MLS – and finished second in the Eastern Conference with 20 wins and 65 points in 34 games.
CF Montreal had acquired Johnston’s services from Nashville SC towards the end of December 2021, in exchange for $1 million in general allocation money. In 2022, he had four goals and five assists in 33 MLS regular season appearances, including 30 starts, for a total of 2,648 minutes played.
Johnston also played every minute in CF Montreal’s two playoff games, 195 minutes in three Concacaf Champions League games and all 90 minutes in the Canadian Championship semi-final. At the end of the season, Johnston won the CF Montreal Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He is one of six CF Montreal players to have been selected for Canada’s World Cup squad in Qatar, playing 90 minutes in each of the three national team games.
In the team’s official statement, Olivier Renard, vice-president and chief athletic officer of CF Montreal, praised Johnston’s professionalism as well as the mentality he displayed with the team.
“He is an example of how we want to see things evolve with a player who comes with clear ideas and who gives everything for the team. When an opportunity arises with a big club like Celtic, we listen to our player,” said Renard.
A native of Vancouver, Johnston also reacted to the departure, insisting that Montreal welcomed him warmly from day one and helped him reach a level he doubted he could reach.
“I was lucky to find myself in this group with talented leaders and players, but even better, with good people. Even though it was only one season together, I will never forget it. I will keep good memories of the records broken on the field, but especially of the connection with the fans,” mentioned Johnston, wishing to thank the fans.
Previously, in two seasons with Nashville, in 2020 and 2021, Johnston had played 44 games, including 39 starts, for a total of 3,510 minutes of play, amassing one goal and two assists.
Glasgow-based Celtic FC are currently top of the Scottish Premier League with 14 wins from 15 games.