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Johnston Relishing New Role

Summer signing Phil Johnston has been almost ever present in manager Barry Ferguson’s team since joining the club from Stirling Albion and this evening he spoke exclusively to the official website.

After spending the majority of his career playing as a right winger, Johnston has regularly been deployed at right back for The Bully Wee this season and he started by discussing how he was finding his new role. 

The Clyde number 16 said: “Last season I played a wee bit at right back but that was the first time I’d played on the right of a back four. It was new to me and I wasn’t sure about it, but this season I have really enjoyed playing there as I have been getting to bomb on and be more of an attacker, rather than a defender. 

“It is not a whole lot different to playing as a winger – you need to tuck in and cover the centre half sometimes but with the way we play, it has been mainly an attacking role. It is a good outlet when you have full backs bombing on and helping to get us up the park. As I say, playing there is not too different from being a winger and I have never minded doing the defensive side of things.” 

While Johnston has been encouraged to get forward whenever possible, he was quick to highlight one game when his defensive attributes were really put to the test. 

The 26-year-old said: “In the Arbroath game I was up against Bobby Linn and he is one of the best players in the league so I spent the majority of that game defending him against him. It was territory that I’m not used to, with boys running at me rather than me running at them, but it was a good test.

“There are not very many people in the league who can do me for pace so that has got me out of trouble a few times and I’m still getting forward, so it has been good.” 

Johnston admits he was left frustrated with the last two results but is looking to return to winning ways this Saturday against SPFL new boys Edinburgh City. 

“I don’t know how we only took one point from our last two matches against Forfar and Berwick,” said the former Dumbarton and Stirling Albion man. “In the Berwick game, how we didn’t go into the break two or three goals up I will never know. 

“They came out well in the second half but, again, we had so many balls into the box that just didn’t fall for us. It is still positive that we are creating loads of chances though, so if we keep playing the way we are playing we’ll be fine. 

“I’m looking forward to Saturday. I played at Meadowbank when I was younger – when I was at Hibs we played a few youth games there but I haven’t been back for a long time. They will be tough – they will be set up well and they’ve got quality with big Beats (Craig Beattie) up front and Joe Mbu at the back so we will need to make sure we are at our best to get the three points and keep on Forfar’s tail.”

With no game this weekend due to the International break, the squad trained at Ravenscraig on Saturday and Johnston believes the break can help The Bully Wee. He said: “The wee break was refreshing and it allowed boys with niggles to clear them up, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. The free week can help sometimes as you then come back motivated and raring to go again.”

Johnston was also keen to conclude by thanking the support for their backing since he joined the club: “The fans have been excellent. We need them to continue being positive and we will do everything we can to get out of this league.”