Alistair Johnston reveals Celtic injury fear after X-rated Lundstram lunge left him with ELEVEN stud marks

Alistair Johnston has revealed how he was left with a swollen ankle, a bloody gash and 11 stud marks on his leg following John Lundstram’s horror Old Firm tackle.

And the Canadian international admitted he feared he might miss the rest of the season after having the same leg operated on less than 12 months ago. Johnston was left in a crumpled heap after being floored by Lundstram’s lunge shortly before half time in Sunday’s Scottish Premiership title defining derby at Parkhead.

The Scouser was shown a straight red card for the foul after an intervention from VAR - a decision which left Rangers down to ten men and on their way to a hugely significant 2-1 defeat. And ahead of his side’s potential title party at Rugby Park, Johnston spoke for the first time about the damage Lundstram inflicted.

He said: “In the moment I was concerned, just because it was the ankle I did previously. That was the one that nearly ended my season last year when I had to get surgery. So I was a bit worried but luckily they did some tests on it and structurally it was good. It was just swollen and pretty bruised, which kind of affected the mobility of it and my confidence in it for the rest of the match.

“But structurally it was sound and that was the most important thing. I knew it was bad. My socks were ripped and I had blood everywhere so I had a feeling this one might need to go to VAR! I saw the yellow come out and, to be fair, I saw the ball 30 yards away and thought maybe he did win the ball. But he definitely won me as well.

“I didn’t realise how bad it was until I saw the replay of it. In the moment he caught me pretty good, but it looked even worse than that in the replay. A gash went halfway up my leg as well and down the side of it. I knew in the moment it probably wasn’t a great challenge and that’s why VAR is here. You can have a look at those tackles again to really see what happened.

"When you slow it down you see that, no, he got me and I actually kicked the ball. It was the right call at the end of the day and I don’t think anybody would have any complaints about it.”

Asked if he required stitches in the wound Johnston went on: “Thankfully not. But I do have about 11 stud marks on my legs – you can count them!”

Johnston is back in contention for a starting place away at Kilmarnock as Celtic look to tie up the title in style.

And he said: "Again, I feel better than I was probably expecting. But that comes down to the gaffer, we will see what he decides.

“But you want to play in these games. You do this whole marathon so that, when you get to the end, you are part of it. But no matter who plays we are all confident we can get the job done.”

And, after suffering defeats twice in Ayrshire this season, Johnston insists Celtic won’t slip up for a third time now that the league crown is within touching distance.

“There’s a great motivation for us - there’s a chance if you go there and get the result you’re going to win the league - and that’s on our minds. But we’ll need to come out flying and we’ll need to come out strong because they are not going to roll over. They are going to be up for the fight.”